When it’s time to eat my heart-
shaped cherimoya, custard apple,
like Eve, like Musetta, who, in the libretto
according to Marcello, mangia il cuore,

I slide my thumbs into my widow’s peak, pausing
before cracking back walls of green scales,
tin-shiny, hard-nippled,

run my fingers along the wet
valves of tender novaculite,
dripping with perfume of pear and passionfruit,

then dip between my folded lips
to remove every venomous
seed, useless and lethal,
so that all that remains is my tongue suckling sweet
fangs from my fingertips,

sticky and at times acrid,
having scraped at times too close to the skin,
but each time, I never needed anyone
to know my predilection
for metamorphic creation.

STEPHANIE LATERZA has been selected as a SU-CASA 2018 artist-in-residence by the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her short fiction has appeared in The Nottingham Review, Writing Raw, Literary Mama, and Akashic Books. Her poetry has been published in Ovunque Siamo, Newtown Literary, San Francisco Peace and Hope, Literary Mama, and Meniscus Magazine. Her legal thriller, The Boulevard Trial, has gained acclaim for its portrayal of mother-daughter, lawyer-client relationships, and feminist solidarity.