Once I swallowed a stone
I mistook for a son.
Opened jaws & tasted only my own blood,
jaws a solar system breaking orbit.

Flossed my teeth with thunderbolts.
Digested bones of sacrificial deer.
Carved an altar from this tongue honey-serrated.
Swished whiskey, gargled the ocean.
Blood too is salt or song,
horror-gospel spilling down my chin.
Of what sudden ruin are we capable
when hunger drowns sense?

I drain a bottle, chew
the glittering bits, grin grief-bedazzled
& paint every wall in the house black.
I gobble everything
I might have instead once loved.


DEREK BERRY is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbooks Good Ghost: Alive & Intact (PRA Publishing 2018) & Skinny Dipping with Strangers (2013), as well as the novel Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). Their previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glint Journal, Lemonstar Magazine, Rabid Oak, RiverSedge, and other journals. They are the co-founder of literary non-profit The Unspoken Word. They are the editor of Good Juju Review and co-host of the creative writing podcast Contribute Your Verse.