Tattered Labels
 

I stand at an intersection, spinning in place: I am stuck in spin cycle (not droning, not drilling
down)—


I’m attracting a crowd—


did I mention that I’m naked? but this is not another naked-dream poem: I am shedding his/her
stories—


I am bare: I am thread—


my ribbon skin, untwisting, becomes a tangled mess: bones clatter: articulated arms dance: flies
buzz my spinning head —


my fluids are centrifugal: the crowd steps back, repelled: witnesses resist contamination—


specters cross my intersection: I am north, not south, I say: I am east, not west: still, my sinews
mimic tattered labels—


I am bloodless, unsexed: ghost-mist hides all my topographies—


I am unmade: I am they, and not yet dead.

Questions (Not) to Ask
 

blood images
of bigotry, pitiless, run
across my screen: outside
floodtides rise—but I
am not drowning?

 

if my (family) tree saves
me, can I hollow out
my trunk and build an ark?

 

what kind of knife’s
required (scalpel or sword)
to slice through wood
through tissue, carve
a new route?


frame by frame, looping
to infinity, images
of bigotry—can I

wade behind another(s) boat, pass
fresh water, pass the salt?


I sing myself complicit: how
can I (not) let you drown?


if my passport
is printed on my skin, can I
travel beyond self?

Jude Marr teaches, and writes poetry, as protest. They are currently a PhD candidate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and their chapbook, Breakfast for the Birds (Finishing Line), was published in 2017. Recent credits include Nightjar Review, 8 Poems, and Oxidant Engine. Obsessions include sour cream, buzz cuts, and contradictions. Check out more of their work at judemarr.com.

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