within our little cottage growing up, men
and violence were the same: eke of swamp
thrusting into my home like spittle. mosquitoes
fill the space in my father’s mouth,
and in twelfth grade, the boy’s tongue
curls down my throat like a water moccasin.
these were the models i learned by: walking
swamp to school every day kept my spine rigid,
my eyes fearful. raft of logic hewn together
by hair and dribble. then, quiet spaces in home
were hemlock, chokeweed, bone. were bruises.
were wounds dressed like tiny presents. growing
up, i knew just what to call myself:
an ember. the shadow shouldering
every ghost before.
Zef Lisowski is a NYC transplant, Kanye West apologist, and watery Pisces mess. Their work has previously appeared in Vetch: A Magazine of Trans Poetry and Poetics, Hobart, Identity Theory, and Freeze Ray Poetry, in addition to the forthcoming collaborative zine sundress comma fangs. On the internet, find them as zefrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Image: James Loesch