I will strip you bare.

And I won’t stop at skin.

You can still hide a lot beneath skin.

And what about

this thin layer of muscle,

quivering and flexing

beneath my gaze?

That, too, must go.

And what of this strange cage

made of bones, curved

like sideways teeth

around your reality?

It must be opened.

And this nest of organs

covering you up —

what of them?

Surely you know

they must go as well.

It all must go.

I will keep removing layers

until the heart of you is exposed —

naked, bare —

pulsing out your truth

two fleshy beats at a time.

Annie Neugebauer

Annie Neugebauer

Annie Neugebauer is a novelist, blogger, nationally award-winning poet, and two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated short story author with work appearing in more than a hundred publications, including Cemetery Dance, Black Static, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror volumes 3, 4, and 5. She’s a columnist and writing instructor for LitReactor. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com.
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