Evil B

My nurse Trevor nicknamed 
it Evil B,

and it ate me
alive, one bite 

each night into my liver, T 10
and 12, more

when we giggled,
when the gin quit 

working. Hunger increases 
the speed of things, 

especially nameless ones. 
But slowness is the same 

red button pushed 
to call for help 

or name anything we cannot 
prove is air, earth or sea: 

dark matter, Tuscany 
yellow, God, conversion

therapy, that feeling eyes  
convey in nighttime. 

I felt it 
invade me, a corkscrew 

willow chewing 
my plumbing, thinning

my floor bones. I knew 
its name. I said it: 

teratoma, arching to flick 
my tail, stotting, 

teratoma, stomping the oma,
stretching to launch 

like a gazelle sprinting from 
its wide, mephitic lust.

Ben Kline (he/him) lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. Author of the chapbooks SAGITTARIUS A* (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020) and DEAD UNCLES (Driftwood Press, May 2021,) Ben received the 2021 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry. A reader for The Adroit Journal, Ben’s work is forthcoming or can be found in THRUSH, The Holy Male, CutBank, Limp Wrist, DIAGRAM, Hobart, Impossible Archetype, A&U Magazine, and many other publications. You can read more at https://benklineonline.wordpress.com/.

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