Animals in the Kingdom

Margaret Wack

I cannot read the stories of men in love:
the slow, sad smiles
the squeamish ache
the pink, slippery desire

I want to rub my head on you like a dog
lick the salt from your fingers
lie lazily at your feet
as you stroke and stroke and stroke me

I like when you look at me with lion eyes
my arched back my taught legs
smooth and supple like gazelles
like red meat on the dry savannah

of all the vicious hungry animals in the kingdom
you cannot be a broken bird
I cannot be a small girl
with hands that cradle you

we can be loons, we can be leopards
we can be hawks, we can be hornets
we can be everything
(manifold and multiplying)

as long as your heart is as red
and huge as the ox’s heart
as long as your mouth is as hot
and huge as the tiger’s maw

as long as you reach out and
touch me and I turn to you
the smell of desire in my snout
the steady hunger that has been with me
since the dawn of time

Margaret Wack had her work previously published in Strange Horizons, Liminality, and Noble/Gas Qtrly, among others. More can be found at ​