Be were: third place, Judith Wright Poetry Prize

tonight the pigment will rise
through your skin, form in fawn
formations 		deer: your 		stockinged
shanks hang now from half-
open window & 					you slough off
			loose 			shoe
it was a slow summer
but now i crown you
in the backseat:		destructive diadem 	nestled in the thorns
of your 		hair, stuck in 
a swollen wound that seeps 				a stream
						of blood
i take it, what i’m owed, & crickets kiss your split lips with their sound:
		oh, whittled girlhood
		oh, crust of mud 
		that shapes a foot to hoof.
the sun sets on your thighs.
you stumble out & eyes
abandon pigment: sclera
floods dark oil
& in the road		deer: you 		break open
your insides burst with fur
i want to plunge my hand
inside again &					taste
		 	beast			coronation
it was a slow summer
but now i pick fine hairs
from 			between			teeth
& watch you
frail shake on roadside
gore & glisten of 		damp girl
			& dearest
that’s the thing, with men
we always forget, when 				hunting for
blood, first: 							

Kia Groom

Kia Groom grew up in Perth and is slated to graduate from the University of New Orleans in May, with an MFA in poetry. She is founding editor of Quaint Magazine, dedicated to subversive work from female-identified and non-binary writers. Her work has appeared in Going Down Swinging, Westerly and Cordite. She is online at, and tweets at @whodreamedit.

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