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Love Maw

Love Maw
By Alison Rumfitt

I love more than you do, I do,
I love like a rooster fighting in a cage.

I can see the lips
open below me
dripping wet with silk
I can see down the throat
to the pit of the stomach
all of the organs
there is a great great heart
that beats inside it
and it beats for all of us
and it beats me to death with a mace
‘till I am all bloodied and stewed right
and I am what you would call
in love.

I am going to tell you a story about three sisters, the good sister Love, the infuriating sister Loving, and the sister Loved, who died when she was three.


Love was their parents’ favourite because she always had the air of purity and chastity and all the good things a mother and a father secretly horribly hope for in a little girl. Loving was the worst. They disliked her immensely. She always smelled of sickening pinkness and roses and everywhere she went she drew hearts.

One day they decided they would keep Love but be rid of Loving, so they took her to the market, and they said, Loving for sale, but nobody wanted to buy her.

So they suffocated her. They dropped her down the darkest well there was. They left her down there and went back to their favoured daughter, stopping first to buy sweets for her.

Loving died down there of course, as she died she met her sister Loved, and they said many things to each other, but chiefly they realised that perhaps Loved had not died of any sickness but had been killed as Loving had been killed. They embraced.

The well began to crack at the edges and open wide. It grew teeth, and a stone tongue. It opened so wide that the house the parents lived in, the parents, Love, they all toppled deep into it. It chewed on them as they screamed.

And that was how Love, Loved and Loving all died. See?

If you all hold hands and chant around runes they might sometimes appear.

This is how things came to be the way they are now, in a world where Love, Loved, and Loving are all far more abstract than they once were. Once they lived, but now
they only flitter about in the shadowy places,
but yes they can be summoned
or dreamed of or written of,
but they will never, ever, be here, you will never
touch them I can promise you that see

I love more than you can I love like
endless wells. I love like tomcats fighting. I love like
mythologies, and whoever first thought of them,
and if they came into being on their own then
I don’t even love at all. I only Loved.

* * *
Alison Rumfitt is a transgender author and poet from the south of the UK, currently studying English Literature. Her work has appeared in or is upcoming at Strange Horizons, Words Dance, Liminality, Star*Line and more. She was nominated for the Bettering American Poetry award for her poem ‘Only Trans Girl at the Party’. She likes folklore, gothic romance, mixed fruit cider and the Mountain Goats. She can be found on twitter at @gothicgarfield, and she helps run a regular night of poetry and music called Poetry in Motion that can be found by going to the DIY Publishers Facebook page.

Where do you get the ideas for your poems?

Most of my ideas come to me at random points, when I’m sitting outside at night or walking to or from class. I’ll then rush to open my phone and write a few words down in the notes such as ‘trans Mary Magdalene’. From then on, for the next few days that idea will sit in my head annoying me.

Other writers and poets are a lot of help, too. And visual art. I have a deep love for strange sculptures of bodies being corrupted, and whenever I see one it usually finds its way into a poem.