Today's poem is by Lucia Perillo

Altered Beast

You were a man and I used to be a woman
before we first put our quarters in

the game at the gas station, whose snack-chip display
wore a film of oil and soot

beside which you turned into a green gargoyle and then
a flying purple lynx—

whereas I could not get the hang of the joystick
and remained as I began

while you kicked my jaw and chopped my spine,
this is not a metaphor, I swear

I loved how you killed me: I knew you were rising
fast through the levels—and the weak glom on

via defeat, which is better than nothing
(insert sound effects here: dip dap blit bleep . . . )

and when they stopped, your claws gripped the naked
-looking pink lizard that I was,

blood-striped and ragged, as if being a trophy
were the one reward the vanquished get—

which is why, walking home through the curbside sludge,
you held my hand with your arm outstretched

as if you were holding a dripping scalp or head
and I hummed with joy to be your spoils.

Copyright © 2009 Lucia Perillo All rights reserved
from Northwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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