The Were

The Were
Lyrik Courtney

you’d know it in the break, her inhumanity.
no graveled crush, no wheel-rusted grind
of bone on bone to be heard in the cavernous
breach between one wet inhale and the next.
eyes like feral dogs, howling strangely out
from the adumbral thicket of dark hair
that shelters them. a mouth, seeping fog
to fill the room. there are other signs,

too, that mark the arrival of a wolf in
womanskin. her gait: forward-
bent, thighs tensed for running, or even
fucking, perhaps, but mostly for hunting
in moments like this: where i stand nestled
in the shadow of the bar, fingers fastened
around the neck of a damp bottle, soft
suggestion’s hook swinging out from my
collarbones. baiting her out.

that flash of understanding comes quickly,
though her eyes blink slow, yellowing in the light.
a water droplet heavy with possibility catches
on the sleeve of my blouse in the same
instant that she steps forward. she must
know: how strange it is to live on instinct.
how curious to recognize it in another.


Lyrik Courtney is a Black Floridian (ca. 1999) who loves Swedish surrealism and acts as the blog editor for TRACK//FOUR, a magazine for people of color. Their work can be found in various places across the internet (Blueshift, Ninth Letter, etc.), but they themselves are most often seen tweeting, at @lyrik_c.