The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Call Her by Her Name” by Bianca Spriggs



          after Vicissitudes by Jason deCaires Taylor

I am nothing but ash
drifting to the ocean floor

piling until rendered a proper shade,
I can already tell the light is different here.

I do not dare open my eyes.
I turn my head away, tighten

my hands around others’ fearing saltpoison.
Eels slide across my shoulders.

My hair is heavier than the quiet.
When my teeth fall out, they do not grow back.

My ankles are a dwelling place for urchins,
my limbs, my torso, a canvas for scum.

Sometimes, the current brings rumors of life,
mimics voices, breeds memory.

I remember eating hot food.
I remember drinking milk.

I remember the sun before it turned
blue through my eyelids,

before a membrane of slow-moving
lips sealed my mouth, stopped my tongue.

This selection comes from Bianca Spriggs’ poetry collection Call Her by Her Name, available now from Northwestern University Press. Purchase your copy here.

Bianca Spriggs is an award-winning poet and multidisciplinary artist from Lexington, Kentucky, The author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Call Her by Her Name (Northwestern University Press) and the forthcoming The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor (Argos Books). She is the managing editor for pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture and poetry editor for Apex Magazine. You can learn more about her work here:

Staci R. Schoenfeld is a recipient of 2015 NEA Fellowship for Poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and Albee Foundation. She is a PhD student at University of South Dakota, assistant editor for poetry at South Dakota Review, and an assistant editor at Sundress Publications. Recent and forthcoming publications include poems in Mid-American Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Room Magazine, fiction in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and non-fiction in The Manifest Station.


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