I have entered many a vivarium and they’ve always let me leave—
like pain, wild is something not necessarily seen from the outside.
You are looking at me as if I’m the goat in a Chagall painting—
it works, somehow, me here with you, even if all your affection
can’t stop seeing my barred pupils from the corner of your eye.
Chagall painted young love the way it really is: the walls torn back,
crude and ecstatic, a corona of light blazing around the beloved’s head,
barnyard animals with violins, and the bride’s face a blank, white thumbprint.
(I am the one who illuminates the kitchen with coffee-scent each morning,
bitter nectar I’ve tricked you into loving, pomegranate seeds on your tongue.)
Prune back the excess, the color and line and day to day complications
that keep two people from looking eye to eye, and you’re left
with something more luxe and blown glass than any god-fearing hymn:
a canvas, waiting for our bodies, dripping paint. Tin-white,
lead poisoning from licking the paintbrush into a finer point, and you
beside me in our butterfly house. Their wings like fat tear drops,
my hands for scale. You aren’t letting me get away, even when your heart
picks up as I run my tongue over my white, white teeth.
Devon Bohm received her BA from Smith College and earned her MFA with a dual concentration in Poetry and Fiction from Fairfield University. After serving as Mason Road’s Editor-in-Chief, she worked as an adjunct professor of English. She was awarded the 2011 Hatfield Prize for Best Short Story, received an honorable mention in the 2020 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and was longlisted for Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2021. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Labrys, the graveyard zine, horse egg literary, Necessary Fiction, Spry, and Sixfold, with more poetry forthcoming in Sunday Mornings at the River’s Covid anthology and Hole In The Head Review. Her first book of poetry is due out in November 2021 from Cornerstone Press. Follow her on Instagram (@devonpoem) or visit her website at http://www.devonbohm.com.