i come home to kiss my father’s corpse on the weekend
i run through the field, lavender and sole-crushed daisies
there is peace in the the moonlight, werewolves in the corn fields
howling at the sky, pushing over suburban plant pots birthing petunias
on mother’s front porches until they’re cracked and abstract
we smashed rotted pumpkins in the street one night in 2017
before the world got bad and i got too old to know the consequences:
steel baseball bat from my brother’s closet and bare hand
barred teeth and broken wrist, hiding behind chevy cobalts in cul de sacs
i called the emergency number at six when my father collapsed on the stairs
and i, six and weak, six and carrying a barbie doll, six with black eyes,
watched body separate from soul, watched him carried out via stretcher,
watched him. eyes rolled back, spine twisted, hands praying to god.
i watch myself carried into the emergency room, holding my chest at 22
breathing audibly in the waiting room, dragged to the back to become machine,
wires and metal implants and monitors, screaming into the night my name
and all i can think: my father’s never been in this ER. i think he’d like the curtains.
i lick the wounds you left
elbow to wrist, collar bone to ear,
every rib that leads to vital organ,
from thigh to inside, torn and bruised,
savor the scarring, the pain glows.
there is a sweetness to spoiled blood.
there is something, to
asking to be bleed of sin
even when it only replaces the previous,
leeches and all, naked and squirming.
i lick each wound,
appreciate it for its lesson without learning,
dress the gash with lace and pearl, like jawbreaker,
and white gold, like aged dental fillings,
tweeze stitch from skin, pluck the stubborn ones,
breathe in the suffering of naivety,
and taste regret,
like sweet raspberry molded white.
Theo Bee (he/they) is a trans, queer, and disabled writer and artist based in Nebraska.
Jury S. Judge is an internationally published artist, writer, poet, and cartoonist. Her Astronomy Comedy cartoons were published in The Lowell Observer. She was interviewed on the television news program NAZ Today for her work as a cartoonist. Her artwork has been featured in over one hundred thirty-five literary magazines, including the covers of Blue Mesa Review, 3 Elements Review, Glass Mountain, and Levitate. She has also been interviewed by Streetlight Magazine and The Antonym. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the University of Houston, Clear Lake in 2014.