by Hollie Dugas

to be claimed

is not enough; snap my ribs

and lodge truly

into my chest

like a crepuscular howl,

suspend with me

in time, somewhere

between the woman and the monster.

i want it fast and easy—

you know where to land. darkness and foliage

will not protect me

when you come,

discharging cleanly through air,

peeling back the night

like black Velcro

to slip warmly

into my salivating and growling heart.

this is about you and me

and mortality. my bless-ed freak,

i am permeable

after all. do not allow me

makeshift grimness. sear me

holy, be the Almighty

to my bullseye, bore

a path in me for light to tunnel in.

Hollie Dugas lives in New Mexico. Her work has been included in Barrow Street, Reed Magazine, Qu, Redivider, Porter House Review, Salamander, Poet Lore, Mud Season Review, The Louisville Review, The Penn Review, Breakwater Review, Third Coast, RHINO, Sixth Finch, Gordon Square Review, Phoebe, Broad River Review, and Louisiana Literature. Additionally, “A Woman’s Confession #5,162” was selected as the winner of Western Humanities Review Mountain West Writers’ Contest (2017). Hollie has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets. Most recently, her poem was selected as winner of the 22nd Annual Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize at CALYX, in addition to the 2022 Heartwood Poetry Prize. She was also a finalist in the Atlanta Review’s 2022 International Poetry Contest.