This selection, chosen by guest editor Tierney Bailey, is from Yearn by Rage Hezekiah, released by Diode Editions in 2022.
First the smell, then the ribs fetid at the edges of the dark water. Rotted, open, I visit each day, monitor the slow decay, think deer, then raccoon, then possum. What’s left— matted fur emerging from mud, a small skull, all carnivorous teeth intact. Is it not a waste to leave it reeking at the shoreline of a manmade pond? I plunge a stick into parietal space, pluck skull from spine, the bone’s silent release. Surrender body by water’s edge, a whole faceless face dangles from crooked branch. I leave rove beetles to work, glean meaty creases, liberate a waxless shape. Days later I home the form, brighten it with bleach to adorn my altar. Kin to hawk feathers, driftwood, Caribbean shells, round stones smaller than my palm. Preservation— an act of praise. I kneel in reverence, forehead to floor in prayer.
Rage Hezekiah is a Cave Canem, Ragdale, and MacDowell Fellow who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Emerging Artist Award and she serves as Interviews Editor at The Common. She is the author of Unslakable (Paper Nautilus Press, 2019) and Stray Harbor (Finishing Line Press, 2019). Rage’s poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Cincinnati Review, The Colorado Review, and many other journals and anthologies.
Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and is a dice-collecting gremlin. Currently, Tierney is Associate Poetry Editor with Sundress Publications, a copyeditor at Strange Horizons, Associate Editor with PodCastle, and a freelance graphic designer. She has earned a BA from the University of Indianapolis and a Masters Degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College.