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it took nine months in the desert
to shake your grit out from between my folds
rubbed raw sunburnt patches of once tender skin
turned leather

do it for the exposure, you said

heel toe heading sunset bound,
horizon limitless
you weightless
me hopeless

choking on your dust devil demons realized,
brandishing snakeskin shackles
that, though brittle and thin,
left red rashes:
permanent markers of all the ways you dared change me

do it because you love me, you said

carefully placing weighted words on parched tongue,
promising sweet water relief if only I just swallowed
the mirage of what you could’ve been beat outta me by reality

do it or else, you said

the hissing hot branding iron of your five fingers
clenched tight around my throat
milk white done blistered and boiled,
my breath a hot hiss of steam
despite the mercury spike

it took nine months in the desert
to dry out, purge my bones of your water-logged weight
find myself hollow again, punctured but breathing on my own
stumbling long shadow into sun,
determined boot crunch alone:

me against the sandstorm

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