My hand against your shoulder blade,
I trace the outline of the scars you hid.
I press my lips against your tongue.
When your father’s anger simmered, you’d bite your tongue.
You’d run out of the house carrying his switchblade
you stole. In darkness, you’d cower, hidden.
Now you hunger for my touch. Listen: I have nothing to hide.
I love your voice, hollow yet strong. Your tongue
fills what once was empty, our warmth a blade.
Blade, hidden in your mouth, turning into a tongue.
Joyce Ker is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Medicine, Science, and the Humanities. Joyce is a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominee. Her poems have appeared in TAB Journal of Poetry and Poetics; Boxcar Poetry Review; Tule Review; Louisville Review; Harmony Magazine, and are forthcoming in Families, Systems, and Health and Journal of Adolescent Health. Her research was recently featured in JHU’s Arts and Sciences Magazine.