papilio polyxenes; or second attempt at metamorphosis
With a refrain from Adam Neely
My tongue tolls in the bronze of my mouth. I want you to suck sound out of the soft of my inner thigh. My shell. Pain feels good. Should I admit myself in the night? I submit myself in the night. I grow a tail & swallow it before sunrise. Repetition legitimizes. I grow a tail & swallow it before sunrise. Bones thicken my throat. I tremble in pain & it sounds like a song, my music a mimicry: repetition legitimizes. I want you to change with me, under covers which crinkle like leaves. Stare long enough at my razor burn, & skin reveals eyes; this is a defense mechanism to avoid contact. This is a defense mechanism: to avoid contact, I change. When I put my clothes on, I want you to take me. When I take my clothes off, I want you to give me back
James O’Leary (they/them) is a bi, gender-fluid poet and writer from Arizona. James’s work has appeared in publications online and in print, including Frontier, The Indianapolis Review, and Kissing Dynamite, where their work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. James holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. You can find James on Twitter @thesundaypoet, or in Los Angeles, where they are trying their best.