I carry a sword inside me, head to hips.
Some evenings, I want to dance until it clangs against my ribs loud enough to be heard.
Outside in the sun in the lingering chill of February, light glints off my chest, blinding. Steel shines just under the skin of my sternum. Is the blade finally going to rend me in half? Or is my body exorcising it like a splinter?
I press my hand to this new breastplate. I do not want to die in the daylight, but I fear turning inward to discover I have been hollowed, and am still walking.
In an unseen future, something could grow in that cleaned-out space; a pruned-back bush dormant for a season, a year, a decade. Any blossom would be an epiphany.
A stem in my hand.
Jerica Taylor is a neurodivergent queer cook, birder, and chicken herder. She has an MFA from Emerson College, and her work has appeared in Impossible Archetype, FERAL, perhappened, and The Fabulist. She lives with her wife and young daughter in the woods of Western Massachusetts.