Alexandra Maria



The ritual begins like this:

her on her back

in the sand

laid out like a feast


him on his knees

at her side

devotee, disciple

whatever the word is, these days.


When he touches her

it’s with calloused palms

hardened only by work

rough not by intention but habit.


Her flesh dips under his fingers

and he makes the first incision slowly

as gently as he knows how

sliding his knife up from her navel to the base of her throat.


He opens her up with practiced tenderness.

From there it’s easy

just as his father told him it would be, the first time

while his mother took her sanctuary at the kitchen counter


intestines first, pulled out like strings

lungs always heavier than he expects them to be

heart the size of his fist

kidney, stomach, liver.


It seems like so much waste

but he’ll take it all home

and his mother will find something to do with it

what’s another womb for her collection?


Now, the worst part.

Her eyes are still open when he brings the blade to her neck.

She whispers, “I think I love you.”

It takes three swings.


The ritual ends like this:

her on her back

in the sand

laid bare before the moon.


Her blood seeps into the ground beneath his feet

staining the space around them. A caution.

Come morning, the tide will be in

and the waves will wash her away with the rest of them.

20 March, 2021

Alexandra Maria (she/they) is an emerging poet and aspiring teacher from Liverpool, UK who sleeps through her alarms and laughs like an air raid siren. When not writing, she can be found scaring away other customers at her favourite café or on Twitter and Instagram @_ohalexandra.