Archaic Self at the Wine Bar

You stand behind the bar gold-downed,
long-bodied, and say Would you like a thing?
and I say Yes, I would like a red thing

that tastes like there is love in the world,
by which I mean not lilies, or vanilla, or even
tobacco, but blood and animal fur, the love

we really use, hauled up from the deep,
cold wells of us, rusted chain clanking
through the hollow columns of us,

up from the guts, through the heart, the throat,
closest it gets to the brain a brush
with reptile, a little mammal, then

we seal it in a bottle, or spew it on paper, or spit it
in each other’s mouths, still wild,
clawing the cage of language, growling

guttural and yellow-eyed and
wanting to be touched.

RHIANNA BRANDT is a writer, teacher, and restaurant worker. She shares one of the last affordable apartments in Montrose, Houston, with her bum classical musician boyfriend and various flora and fauna.