By Caroline Morris
I have denied it the universe
With the persistent luminescence of my
Pale skin, a sketched outline
Just slightly lighter than its
I promise it,
I would roll in tar or char my skin
In blind servitude,
But then it scoffs:
And what lies still beneath the paint?
I’ll tear it away, I swear,
Every sheet of skin until I’m only red innards.
And what beneath that? It asks.
Your milky skeleton.
It demands an unnatural black,
Not any human color
But an absence—
The lack of a self.
I lay, limbs spread like a star,
Offer myself sacrifice,
Caroline Morris is an emerging writer based in the Philadelphia suburbs and currently works as an editor. She received her B.A. in English literature with a concentration in writing at the Catholic University of America in 2022. Both her poetry and prose wrestle with the nature of femininity, internal and interpersonal relationships, and what it means to have a body. Morris has previously been published by Vermilion, Green Ink Poetry, Beaver Magazine, and the Penwood Review, with two honorable mentions for the O'Hagan Poetry Prize. Twitter: @Lean_writer