My tendency to feel as if expressing myself is wrong

My tendency to apologize when I haven't done anything wrong

other than accidentally hurting the feelings of someone

who doesn't understand my feelings.

My tendency to feel like a hissing venomous snake

when the reason I hissed is because my own space was invaded

with mouths that can't stop themselves from approaching me their way.

They don't get me, or they don't see me, or they want to change me,

stomp me down into their so-called solidity,

but I can't suddenly turn off my own venom

or turn it into vanilla snack pack pudding. I can't

cut my own shape, size, and texture or shrink myself

into something with no mouth of its own.

My tendency to secrete too much

bile inside myself. My self-

deprecation of my own contorting thoughts.

Part of me thinking maybe I should just let them

remove all my skin with un-real depilatory cream;

break down my sharp teeth into holey.

Juliet Cook's poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications, including Arsenic Lobster, DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and books. You can find out more at

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