Instructions for Opening the Body

Only touch a face in an act of love,

even if it is to hook

the dog’s jaw, spring the lock,

and remove the chicken bone—

even if it is to hook

a finger down the daughter’s throat

and remove the chicken bone.

Her body comes open.

A finger down the daughter’s throat—

she learns to prod the keyhole.

Her body comes open

and releases forty thieves.

She learns to prod the keyhole

that man after man leaves her locking,

and releases forty thieves into

the telling of a story, raids the armory

that man after man leaves her. Locking

a secret seed in her teeth,

the telling of a story raids the armory.

She tells you what you want:

a secret seed in her teeth

only. Touch a face in an act of love,

she tells you. What you want

dogs the jaw, springs the lock.


Marielle Prince is a poet and editor living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her publications include work in 32 Poems, Crab Orchard Review, Greensboro Review, Four Way Review, Ninth Letter, Poetry Northwest, and Yemassee. She received an MFA from the University of Virginia and is poetry editor at The Rupture.