Shannon Austin

Autosarcophagy

i. mouth

Fire-breathers & sword
swallowers: drink paraffin to

sound out dragon alphabets, line
their throats with butter.

All they need to say in six
seconds of expectation—

what I sip, mithridatic.

ii. stomach

Contest
of thorns
& wheat. Which
rises to claim a castle?

iii. lungs

the only love/              poem

            is a memory

receive             /           release

pollen from a frond

            wind from a sea

iv. brain

Some cannibals believe
they gain the traits of those they eat.

Which part of me is a feast?

v. heart

This first.
This last.
Repeat.

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Shannon Austin is a writer from Baltimore, MD, with an MFA in poetry at UNLV. Her poems and translations have appeared in Colorado Review, Interim, Profane, American Chordata and elsewhere.