V. To a Survivor

It wasn’t your fault. You hold guilt like a snowball

in bare hands, the cold permeates through flesh

into bone—stiffens.

You sit outside, numb winter with winter.

There is a beast hibernating inside you.

Describe him: the long pause before the silence.

Describe him: a snarl, a half-bitten ear, eyes sour as lemons.

Describe him: a thorn, a husk sweet as venom.   

Go ahead and wake him, you are ready

to engulf yourself in the feral, the teeth, the frenzy of claws, claws, claws.

Soon, you’ll see how he stalks the past

and puts it to rest

with one swift bite to the neck.




Michael Russell is a 27-year-old queer poet who is working on his first chapbook. He lives in Toronto. His work has appeared in cahoodaloodaling, Forage, The Maynard, (parenthetical), The Quilliad, untethered and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology.