i am not afraid
to get myself dirty in fact i think
it is a requirement of living
truly and i do not want i will
not have a minute on this earth
not stamped to its
flinching magma core faceless theys
deign to tell me what i am any good
for oh beautiful things crystal
teacups and white parlors a pedestal
of broken glass for your
resin-frozen figurine—
i would rather try my hand at butchery
flense the liars from my life
find out if she loves the sun like i do
drink bad coffee on the ticking hood of your car
at the last gasp of twilight
split my knuckles in a fight
and hold my brown cardinal heart in my fist
on a stage burning with floodlights from below.
look as my shadow breathes
and towers over you
twenty, thirty, forty feet tall and
at vivisection’s end
you will throw roses at my feet
as i sweat and shake and smile.

Emily Gustafson is a graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has a dual degree in English and Media & Cultural Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She is also an actor, playwright, and nonprofit arts professional living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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