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The City Your Father, the City Your Brother

This selection is paired with “Midnight Meat Train” by Clive Barker. Get NonBinary Review #20 from Zoetic Press.


How hard it was to share a father
with an entire city and compete
with all the neon, oil slicks, and crashes.

A painting in your dining room subway car
asked you every meal why Saturn ate his children
as you ate dinner in a throne alone at dawn.

A riddle whose answer meant you’d be ready
to leave the underground. An answer you hunted
with squat city aunts wielding femurs and snares.

Poor little rich kid, rich like blubber.

You were jealous of the skyline as any brother taller
and brighter than you.

You crawled up his manholes looking for comfort
when you skinned your velvet knees, got indifference.
All hopes of learning the answer from him faded,
even though he got outside somehow.
Back in the tunnels the half-city infants licked your blood
with tongues of glass—there are some down here
still lonelier than you.

But all you wanted was to be taken
seriously. All you wanted
was to be the wanted one.

Poor little rich kid, rich like marrow.

And the answer to that riddle reveals itself
in the halogen haze of a dining room,
a rarefied meal you share with your father.

The answer is: because they let him.


Amelia Gorman is a horror poet, programmer and baker. Her recent poetry can be found in Vastarien and Liminality Magazine and her upcoming fiction in Sharp & Sugar Tooth from Upper Rubber Boot Books.