I will not swallow the hook–
These bloody gills at last
Are healing and it no longer
Tastes of pennies when I swallow.
The glinting eyes of imagined enemies
Will not calculate my own worth and
A smile not returned, I will assure myself,
Does not lose value when devoured
By the circling sharks, exposed to
Soft skin, soft cries, tender taste
Of this fading sunset girl. I will
Weld steel into my spine.
Catching sweet water in these
Basket hands that reach for summer
I will savor the sweet juice of
These blackberries, forever
Ignoring the thorns of autumn.