by Josh Allsop

Published in Issue No. 257 ~ October, 2018

Isaac (the Pale Man’s fairies)

Salt washes us. We first enter each other at the foremast. Bed of strewn gold, my pugilist stumps cleaving through the coins and drawing up hair and loose lamina. The deck heaves. With lank tresses and skin cracked porcelain she takes hold, breathes in me the sourness of wet timber. Thistles of keratin that barb, cartographers dividing ourselves with faint white tracks on flesh. One of her deaths ruptures my spine, the warped shadows play by the onion lantern, folded into paralysis.

She grabs each piece of me, each limb and joint, and tears. No sound but for the lapping of blood on the gold and the scrape as coins drift leeward. And I kiss her, growing stronger in the blood and reforming myself in her image. I grab her, separate her. No blood, just a cold light that shows me my porcelain skin which does not feel that cool spray.

The throat is a solid mass, to swallow is to grind the muscles. Speaking in nothing but jugs where pain blooms at the top of your chest.

She commands my heart to pound my ribs, and they fracture from the swelling until I am filled with dust. It beats and beats, convulsing me. Bursting out, we feast on it. I bury my face into the heart and chew through the muscle until the teeth break, unable to swallow. And when we finish, I cannot see her.

I stare at my small thin wrist, traced with a compass rose.


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Josh Allsop is an MA student of Creative Writing at University of Birmingham. He hopes to go into publishing or pursue a PhD. He writes challenging and difficult poetry in order for the reader to assess their own conceptions of belief.