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the cyborg and me we watch the movie

widescreen intercut a dog falls

down, powder soundless

we share Shari’s sugared grape pies

and the cyborg says she feels like

maybe dancing so I softly power

her down pressing and I paint gestures

of marigolds poppythorn flowers

windthings on her still copper shins tilting bone

my original love goddess told me

once about the green man who

sewed a watermuse’s ribbon into his chest

baby blue rayon that girl

had a small name and lived by a river bank

washing herself, placing stones in lines

salmon faces they can always tell

warmth I dip my whole hand into the white paint

I breed taller and longer arms into myself become

a paper maple molting in the middle of the floor

lights beating on the cyborg’s calico face

the cyborg and me we have a secret

code nubile itchy I cup hand pools of paint

water and draw them over her legs breaking

apart the orange paints my stomach my eyes

washing myself staring up at the dark

ceiling fan needling a baby blue

ribbon through the skin in the sunscald

of my chest my mouth charming the king of

salmon lips salmon teeth salmon lips they can tell

the blue dog on screen, yeah she woofs like a bluer dog



I steal rainbow pins from the sewing table fruit

and slide them into

soft fat

my guinea pig’s body

out on the porch

I saw my father hug

his old dirt bike to his body

lift it

onto cinderblocks he rearranges

its insides to make them louder when turned on

I take photographs of my

guinea pig with my game boy advance

she chirps faux porcupinette on the office chair

and my mom is calling me up from California

but it’s summer in the woods

and I can pick pennies and nails up and show

them to my grandpa like a child

crawling underneath the deck to hide from

the man who taught me to fuck

by lying still and curling my fist into chest hair

eventually I will crush my

guinea pig into my chest

a thump of her swollen spine the pins

their colors

I dance doll legged at best


Maya Stahler (she/her) is a poet from Oregon who is currently an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her most recent work appears/is forthcoming in Longleaf Review, Squawk Back, Dialogist, and elsewhere. Twitter: @MayaStahler

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