by Hester J. Rook

Sharon Sieben, Aubergine Gothic                                              


I take the stage.

There is a hunger in me

a redjawed ache.

If they slit me open now

all they will find is ash.


I bay like birds expanding.


Eating hurts

but the good pain — like the cold gasp

of ocean over lungs,

a mouthful of salt

or the memory of one who you love

who you hate

who you love.


I rend plum-mouthed, reddening.


My audience squeals

like the cut of a knife

a brief slash of noise

(they do not trust my


but then, who trusts a beast with the face

of a girl?)


And then:

I devour.


My teeth flicker into aubergine

burst into warmth

and then it is



After: tea

tallow soft and tender,

for the digestion.

A dressing room pause until


it is time to perform again.

Edgar Degas, The Actresses' Dressing Room, 1885.                     

Hester J. Rook is a Rhysling Award nominated poet and co-editor of Twisted Moon Magazine. She's on Twitter @hesterjrook and on wordpress at