XXIII. Energy

the lie in (wait)
by Stephanie Parent | September 19, 2020

fur under your clenched palm
not soft or sleek — feline, not housecat
grit of dried blood beneath your left ring finger
one slip, and the tender flesh of your thumbpads
meets incisor, canine, carnassial

you no longer remember
whether you fear or long for

your hand has held tight here for decades, centuries
you’ve forgotten how it feels to flow like water
      forgotten whether or why
          you chose this

you don’t know what will happen
when it’s time to let go
but you know the teeth will be strong
   (no lies) and sharp (like truth)

Stephanie Parent (she/her) is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.