i) We are closer to the animal than we think. Birds peck at their food. Chicks are fed, beak to beak.

ii) We open our mouths for the stream of data gathered by the machine. Chew time is time wasted.

iii) The gag reflex becomes a vestigial process. We are adapted to swallowing in one go.

iv) The machine rounds us up in a circle. It shares the story of a dark–skinned woman winning the crown, most beautiful in the world. Her image peppers the stream.

v) Somehow it is wrong to be beautiful and dark at the same time.

vi) Someone throws the first stone.

vii) The queen smiles through broken teeth and bruises. Her crown remains clipped to her hair.

viii) Only the machine remembers her now. No one asks where she is.

ix) Some beetle larva drink with their skin.

x) We stop eating with our mouths.

image016Anne Carly Abad writes poetry and stories when she’s not training Muay Thai. She also takes care of her grumpy hedgehog named Pork E. Pine.


Her work has appeared or will appear in The Southeast Review, Silver Blade, and Strange Horizons. More about her at the–sword–that–speaks.blogspot.com.

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