“foul bite” by Rachael Gay

Etching lines form paranoia 

on a grander scale than 

detail ever could;

the suggestion always far more

frightening than reality

In horror movies the monster

is not shown until the climax of the movie.

Drops of belladonna blinked into the eye 

to dilate the pupils to the point of eclipse. 

The actress’s eyeliner drawn on the top and bottom

but not meeting in the corner 

to make the suggestion of widened eyes 


I want to paint solely to satisfy

my desire to embrace divinity,

to form and destroy mountains.

I look at the oil paintings from the side 

and see topography,

hold my hands behind my back not in contemplation 

but to resist running shaking fingers over them.


The artist says to paint the egg without using white,

my own skin without peach, and

I realize on the graying morning that 

the world is just different shades of lavender 


The signature on this piece takes up half the painting 

and I think to myself 

what a gorgeous thing,

to make art out of ownership. 



Rachael Gay is a poet and artist living in Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in journals such as Anti-Heroin Chic, The Laurel Review, Rogue Agent, Ghost City Review, Gramma Poetry, FreezeRay Poetry, Rising Phoenix Review and others as well as the anthology What Keeps Us Here (2019).

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