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Belle with a Showy, Red Leak

Jennifer L. Knox

It was tough to poke the thick embroidery needle through
her lower lip and twist the stud in before the hole closed.
Lips don’t want holes in them. Same with tongues.
She’d have to be more careful in the shower than
she'd ever been with anything—softly brush the blood
away as if with someone else's sleepy, gentle hand.
Whitney was coming over to do her hair with wine coolers
and straws. She’d cut all her nails so she wouldn’t snag
her new black tights when she pulled them on drunk. Nothing
covers bruises like black tights. But all that would come later:
the bruises, the buzz, the busted nuts, her getting shoved
listlessly from one set of hands to the next like a beach ball
the whole crowd’s tired of hitting.

Jennifer L. Knox

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