King’s Flesh—K. A. Tutin

content warning: mild gore

Once upon a time —



the stag sat upon a throne of teeth and skeletons,
lips stained with wine and slender fingers cradling
grapes just as rich. 
Marked thighs with sweetened bruises and
pressed down deeper until they blanched to sallow.

Flayed skin to see how keenly one would bleed
for him, devotion gashed to wretched
by his hands. No more, they said. No more.

A prayer, a wish, 
the beseeching for absence of pain. 

Awaken to his skull mangled by antlers
and tossed 
into the dawn of fog swelling behind his castle.


see through the damp streaks of misted windows,
a stag standing alone
on an empty hill, 
its velvet coarse and bloodied, sluiced from bone.

K. A. Tutin explores speculative fiction and poetry that focuses on death, technology, and relationships. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Queer Blades Anthology, Lamplight, KaleidotropeLuna Station Quarterly, and Syntax and Salt. Find her on Twitter at @MsKATutin.

photo by Diana Parkhouse and Malcolm Lightbody (via unsplash)