Tory Adkisson

Your Animal Heart

Hidden in the woods—a mask
for Halloween, a mask

for winter. We slip into our holiday
frocks, never shedding a single

article or appendage. Soon
we grow, overgrow, tangled

& wild, weary & wistful—
fear holds a small knife to the tubes

of your throat. I'm powerless.
I can only save myself.

Please, love, don't swallow
your questions. Let's drink the forest

& forget the animals,
the brambles stuck infinitely

in their soles. Hawks are hawkish.
Eels squirm. You can't remember

the urge that brought us
together, or forget the urge

that's pulling you away: our ragged
arms, the sick, suckling meat

of our hearts. Before you discard
your mask, go & ruin the game

for all future players.
Don't break my body, break it free.


Tory Adkisson's poems have appeared in Third Coast, 32 Poems, Boston Review, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Seattle with his two cats.