Prayer

I reach into my throat & find words like: swallow, keep, wail, moan.
I find the poem you wrote for me about rolling hips. I find words
like: ancient, effortless, gratitude. I find a note from the end of June.

I reach into my throat & find words like: hunger, spellbound, prayer.
Feast or famine. Feast or famine. All animals desire & eat each other.
What does it mean to consume? To crave to consume to be consumed?

I reach beyond hunger & find scars from when the morning sickness
tore my esophagus — to my cries on the bathroom floor — my body
cutting itself open — the slick sour still clings to the wound in my throat.

Diagnostic Groups

I.

Her tongue traces down the autopsy line.
I inhale willow branches snaking my skin.

Fingers slide and lace together, palms press,
and her tongue ignites a space below my womb.

II.

I avoid her mouth.

III.

Afghan blanket wings, she, my bird woman —
pulls light from the window, certain lumen.

I’ve memorized the way the air changes
when her body pulls away. I hold her

with both hands — I hold, and I try to keep
her skin like a fowl’s with feathers plucked.


Ashley Taylor is currently pursuing her MFA in Writing (Poetry) at Spalding University. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Louisville, where she teaches college composition and facilitates UofL’s LGBTQ+ creative writing group. She’s volunteered as editor for The White Squirrel, Miracle Monocle, and Lemon Star Mag. Her work has appeared in Lavender Review, Limestone Journal, Coe Review, Merrimack Review, and elsewhere. She is the founder and curator of Louisville reading series River City Revue.

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