Poem by Elizabeth Upshur
An acquired taste.
For the cannibals we say we aren't
we look at femme bodies. For
the taffies better known as flatteries
between liars and whoever isn't.
For that lump of gold, lump of fool’s gold
hard as knowledge passed from god to man,
just as sharp in the throat, scratching
out new words from my voicebox.
They were my first, those
caramel sweets from my grandmother,
a woman of the generation removed
from insistence on caramel, and one day,
the sticky sugar meant to lasso my loose tooth
out of my jawline from a, shall we say, inventive
the color of my winter skin at my wrist,
like the Lord's own wrist yanked, bloody,
for a soldier's nail to pierce my palm,
hold my body up for crimes I have never
remembered, and the vinegar at my lips
harsher than my own tears.
Pull me until that hard, glossy armor
breaks. Until everything sweet
about me melts on your tongue,
and me and thee, and thee and me
seethe all in your blood.
About the Writer
Elizabeth Upshur comes from a long line of Black Southern storytellers, and her work can be found in storySouth, Mujerista, Pomona Valley Review, and Red Mud Review. She is the inaugural winner of the Brown Sugar Lit Mag prize and recent Gigantic Sequins flash fiction winner. Follow her @ https://www.instagram.com/elizawriteswords.