— Steven Sanchez

Behold him who infecteth all the world. — Dante

Her gray fur is inescapable
like the bruises I left each time

I heard your lisp and thought Stop
being a sissy     a pansy     a fag

a reminder
.     I     set the sticky trap
where mice now crane their necks

toward their mother, her teats
glued to the ground. I strike

her skull with a broom handle, dent
her cranium into a crescent moon

and let it wane between her eyes,
two unflinching stars. Is this mercy?

Or should I have walked away?
One night, after dad told me

to move out, I left. You sat
in your room, half-empty

prescription bottle eclipsed
by your fingers, each pill

bound in collagen—skin
and bone—their liquid hearts

burrowing into yours.

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