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Rules, like horizons,
mislead you.
You don’t always have to tie the knot
just so.
You are free
and you are lovely,
even with your teeth tucked in.
Free to

jump off my horizon
without rope or note.
If you bounce, you bounce back
into pretense, a thrill but no climax.

Dear, cast no reflection.
Dangle (not).
Be not limp (useless).

Be my tiny predator.

Observe
my herd of words
resting on a hillside,
weary from a day’s pronunciation.
How tender they smell.
How their syllables sizzle.

They wait for you.
They can’t help themselves.
They love to be mouthed.

Let the seams come loose (no one’s watching).
Let the form unfold (no one sees).

Listen to the panting as the teeth sink deep.
Your heart has become a red-lipped beast.

Ride that beast all the way to the sun.

Bring me back the ashes.


Janice Worthen lives in the Bay Area. By day, she is the shipping coordinator
for Small Press Distribution. By night, she writes poetry and freelance news
stories, blogs, and snores. Her poems have appeared in The Rectangle,
Switchback, and Your Impossible Voice.

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