“Totemic” by Jennifer Crow

If you wear what you fear,
cloak your fragile frame
in weaponized flesh, learn
to weave patterns of death
on water’s inconstant mask,
you might survive this fight.
If you set lines of serrated teeth
on the edge of your club,
if your battle frenzy calls to mind
a careless feast of blood,
you might wake to yourself
on a gory beach, or stand atop sea cliffs
and witness broken-backed foes
below, caught in the tide.
But remember, you do not own
the shark-soul—as it sinks
into you, you drown a little more,
until the pelagic cradle
welcomes you home at last.

Jennifer Crow has been writing speculative poetry for more than two decades. In 2017, her work appeared in Asimov’s and Mythic Delirium, among other venues, and her poems in Abyss and Apex and Dreams & Nightmares received Pushcart Prize nominations. You can find her on Twitter @writerjencrow.
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