the skull is a cage or carriage
with skin stretched over like a map on a globe.
the forehead is a plain scarred with grooves
from a plough. the eyebrows are islands of leaning
spruce trees. irises are twin dormant volcanoes,
the pupils are craters of ash.
the nose resembles home but every pore
is an exit, welcome then say goodbye
to a virus you contracted. the lips fit together like
a clam’s shell, the tongue inside is the meat.
a shallow cave is dug out of the clavicle. the ribs
are a trap set inside a pyramid.
find me a body to grow old with.
skin falls like a sandstorm, scatters and shifts.
the hips are an arrow at a crossroads pointing to shelter
but the legs keep going, are agitated travellers.
the heart has slid from sleeve to inner
thigh. how must one remember?
Copyright © Tanis Franco. Originally published in Quarry (University of Calgary Press, 2018).
Tanis Franco is a queer & non-binary writer & archivist living in Toronto. Their first poetry book Quarry (University of Calgary Press) was published in early 2018. They have had recent writing published in Lemon Hound, The Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and forthcoming in Carousel and the League’s LGBTQI2S Chapbook. They are currently working on a second poetry manuscript.
See the League’s 2019 Book Awards Shortlists here.