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Tattered Labels

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

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

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.jpg

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

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