BIRTHRIGHT by NATALIE WEE

          Of all my inheritances          my father’s appetite
pulls heaviest          the translucent ache          licks my joints sweet          a mouth
          without a mouth          begging not          for fullness          but to be rid
of absence          a man who praises          water’s return to shore
          transforms my leaving          into his life’s end          foretells a child
made sinew & weight          made a season          of burials          have you watched
          light-dappled foam          grow molars & break          over jagged stones
 bruise-coloured teeth          multiplying what it’s fed          to keep eating                                           we are born into          an economy of desire          & belly ancestral wants
to marrow our bones          & furnish bodies          with our blood’s          thickest loss
          what is permanence          if not a fiction of mercy          what is a name
to slice from the day’s          golden hour          if not a lighthouse
          if I could eat my lonely          if I could fluent my lonely
this slow heavy was both          my mouth          & its hollow       I mean hunger                          hunger of a wave          cannibalising itself          to reach shore       hunger
that folds inwards          because what else          will feed it


Natalie Wee has work published or forthcoming in BOAAT, The Adroit Journal, and Indiana Review, among others. She has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology.

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