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Ode to Re-Becoming, Perry Gasteiger

CW: body horror, death

She wanders through a wasted land,

callous beams throwing fists of needles

into the backs of her retinas,

sunburned dunes scorching her toes.

Her nose slides down her face,

the tang of iron painting her lips

as bloody cartilage explodes

into sprawling mountains at her feet.

Soft blue veins split open

like velvet tearing at the seams,

spilling oceans into the sand,

pooling in the tracks behind her.

Swollen eyes burst in their sockets,

viscous humor streaking her cheeks,

dripping from her chin in jelly droplets,

gouging valleys in the ground before her.

Teeth rot from the roots,

falling from her gaping mouth,

seeding the earth in her wake,

growing great trunks from their cavities.

Skin peels away in chunks

carpeting the ground,

muscles melt off the bone

molding new life in the cradle of dead flesh.

And she is left stripped,


a skeleton rattling

in her luscious creation.


Perry Gasteiger is a queer, non-binary poet. Their work focuses on the mundane darkness of our everyday world using juxtaposition between the real and the abstract, the beautiful and the deformed, the congruent and the disordered. Perry aims to see the easily unnoticeable in an evocative and empathetic way.

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