How to survive in the Animal Kingdom

every memory i have is tangled in the nettles growing on my back. they had me by the throat when they shaved me. with only three clicks of metal kissing metal they left me naked in the street and now i carry nothing but what i can hold in my hands.

 

i’ve learnt not to approach things without my haunches raised. maybe that’s why you said you couldn’t love me. that’s alright. you can still see the flesh of a boy i tore apart last week wedged into the cracks of my teeth.

 

stay with the pack! i’ve watched from the sidelines as those who limped or lagged were thrown into the river.

 

one day they’ll come for you. a pack of wild animals, wearing glossy masks of men. they’ll hold a knife to your genitals. it will feel cold against your skin. without moving their mouths, they’ll threaten to take everything away.

 

if you’ve got any guts you’ll drown in the sea of picketed signs and you’ll howl until your throat is raw. they’ll break your legs and hang you from hooks in cages. and they’ll look you straight in the eye when they tell you they’re doing this for you.

 

that would make me so fucking mad. you buried your claws into my flesh once before, so i know you’ve got them. why don’t you give them something to remember you by? or do you only carve your name into the ones you love? sorry, you never loved me. i keep forgetting.

 

i’m gutless. i’ll run until my lungs explode or my legs give out. a boy walking home from school will point his tree branch at me. he’ll shoot me dead. it’s a hard world for wild things.

 

By Francesca Di Stefano

Photograph via Flickr

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