Back to Issue Forty-Two


or transfiguration



The difference between a dungeon and a den
is the nature of one’s captivity.

A man wears a harness and becomes my god,
likewise, a bear adorns himself in leather straps,
so wildness can be a breath pulled closer.

I once thought forgetting might liberate me,
but here I come to realize I’m most free
when I’m reminded of myself.

Feral, but harmless. Stuffed, but alive, hidden.

When I was a man, I was really only ever that boy—
time stopped by a pair of strong hands I did not ask for.

It was bright that day.

Even with my eyes closed, I felt the sun through
my eyelids, saw my pink flesh aflame—my body held still.

If I had been an animal then, might I have fought back?

Sometimes a dungeon is a memory where I become
so good at playing dead, I never move again.

But I was never dead, just cold and still beneath him.

If there’s a soul within me, an animal might coax
its warm glow from my flesh brutely,
so I can see my god before me in all my light.

Don’t stop. Pull me closer. I want a better look.


Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of deciduous qween (Red Hen Press), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Ecotone, Houston Public Media, Gulf Coast, Missouri Review, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. Matty is a PhD student and the Jeff Metcalf Humanities in the Community Fellow at the University of Utah where he serves as the Writers in the Schools Coordinator and the Editor of Quarterly West.

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