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The Temptations of Molech

Shira Telushkin


I’m being fucked gently by a man named Gustave

And this time his mustache doesn’t bother me.

It’s both silky and harsh and they love it,

The small children whose bones he grinds up

Each morning, extracting a calcium so rich it

Produces a paint so pigmented that his art

Is never not praised.


In this moment he is gripping my elbow as my head

Bangs gently on the headboard

(His thrusting more for show than for pleasure)

And tomorrow I will sit by his side and

whisper praises on demand,

mixing calcium with color for him to consider.

They mix well in the crook of my arm.


Years ago, Gustave took me to Alexandria,

walked me down the 268 steps of the encircled catacomb,

and asked for my elbow.

I told him I needed to think about it.


Do I need this elbow? Winged like a chicken

When I place hand on hip, dangerous around table edges,

Weaponized against pushy people in galleries.

The truth is, outside of Prague there is a church

built from the bones of dead monks and in the catacomb tombs

of Alexandria there are glass cases full of bony

fingers, torn ligaments and martyrs’ skulls.


And the truth, inside of me is a small space

barely the size of a mixing bowl (small enough for

a skull), and this space is available for him,

should he need it, but my bones are my own.


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