Issue 20 | Fall 2018

King of Thorns

My womb was promised a child.
She exists solely for that purpose and yet I keep denying her
the chance to reach her full potential.
There have been opportunities—mistakes—dodged
encounters where her hopes are raised and
I am sobbing, clutching the bathroom sink and my stomach.
She hates me.
Her walls are stained and every time I ghost her
she shrieks and tears at herself, shatters lamps
until morning when I find her slumped in exhaustion,
eyes red with anger and defeat.

She is unremarkable.

I grow tired of her routine and so she is forgotten—but
she does not forget. She wants what was promised.

Nutrients slowly become displaced in my body. Swells of pain crash
like a perfect wave, but never in the same place so I swallow
a new pill and pay it no mind.
I sleep more, drink less and forget to care.

Meanwhile she is working.
She has gathered materials and molds clay in the shadows.
White blood cells whisper and do her bidding,
they multiply and move, a skeleton begins to take shape.
She mutters spells under her breath so I don’t hear,
hexes as old as my bloodline breathe this curse into life.
His eyelids flutter. He snorts. Hooves paw and antlers shake
as he takes his first step.
She sits back in wonderment at her work.
A child is made.
His crown of bones continue to grow into my organs,
piercing, he is stuck and I realize something is wrong.
He is Baratheon drunk, bucking and twisting his way in circles.
A scream gets caught in my throat as I am forced to my knees
to this usurper,
a child that was never mine.
He tugs and pulls, horns sharpening on themselves as he locks himself in place,
a stag of rock and vengeance housed in my body,
as she grins off to the side, finally satisfied—accomplished.
I lift my head in awe, the shadows of his horned crown silencing any fight.

He is remarkable.

Filed under: Poetry

Nicole Lourette received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. Originally from Rochester, NY she now resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her two cats. She is an editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Journal with her work featured in IDK Magazine, Vagabond City, The Paragon Journal, and elsewhere.