LIANNA SCHREIBER

A SELF-PORTRAIT IN SIMILES


a girl is a bird / throat berried with blood / wingbones
singed a deep duskdark;
a woman is a wolf, devouring its own entrails.

 I am both / I am neither / I am

a disembodied voice in the night,

the suture point where the lunate scrapes against the radius, struggling
to twist southward. / here,

summer never comes —
and spring is a pale phantom, tethering the horizon

as though its mouth is only now learning the art of teething.

a bird is a girl / a wolf is a woman / a god is a ghost —
I am a thing Death-preyed,

a prayer in reverse. / I am absolution / or perhaps absolute / or perhaps

I am, at last, absolved.


TENDERNESS IS A VICE


know your poisons
mother says, / know how arsenic best laces the tongue,
the exact proportions of psychotropic components
found in one kiss;

 know how the body destroys itself for love, / know
your venoms also —

my thistle, a woman is a murder in progress. remember
your blood. remember how to slick it off of your teeth:

no bone, no ash, no evidence;

no marrow left.

mother, you needn’t teach a snake the art of molting;
I was always the serpent / suckling at my own wrist.

I have summered with frogs;
the deceit of skin is known to my fingers. I forgo all
warning coloration — I become as the moon: a pale
halo is all that belies danger,

the raging of a seadeep storm. / Death has breathed
his tenebrae into the innermost parts of me; my soul

and heart are overfull of them, Achos-akinned.

mother, I am no mere carnage;
I am Armageddon.


LIANNA SCHREIBER is a Romanian author. A self-described “New Romantic”, her work mostly concerns itself with gods, monsters, and human nature as it is caught between the sacred and the profane — all wrapped up in an overabundance of floral imagery.

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