Quilt Volume IV: Lost & Found

Page 1

2024 | Volume 4 2024 | Volume 4 LOST & LOST & LOST & FOUND FOUND FOUND

editor’s note editor’s note editor’s note

Family by Corey Martin Family by Corey Martin Family by Corey Martin

“Another ghost that has always been here”: “Another ghost that has always been here”: “Another ghost that has always been here”: DisruptingtheLesbianUtopiain“PoeticsofSex” DisruptingtheLesbianUtopiain“PoeticsofSex” DisruptingtheLesbianUtopiain“PoeticsofSex” and and and In In In the the the Dream Dream Dream House House House by

table table

Mome by Kaiya Mongrain

Mome by Kaiya Mongrain

Mome by Kaiya Mongrain

Correspondence by Gwendolen Hickey

Correspondence by Gwendolen Hickey

Correspondence by Gwendolen Hickey

The Cyclone by Catherine Parke The Cyclone by Catherine Parke The Cyclone by Catherine Parke 547832 by Corey Martin 547832 by Corey Martin 547832 by Corey Martin
Lost & Found i-SPY Lost & Found i-SPY Lost & Found i-SPY Belladonna by Kaiya Mongrain Belladonna by Kaiya Mongrain Belladonna by
Kaiya Mongrain

Horns by Sam Arkeveld Horns by Sam Arkeveld Horns by Sam Arkeveld

ContentWarnings:Death,blood, ContentWarnings:Death,blood, ContentWarnings:Death,blood, violence, homophobia, self- violence, homophobia, self- violence, homophobia, selfharm,ableism harm,ableism harm,ableism

Shrew by Christina Lanni

Shrew by Christina Lanni

Shrew by Christina Lanni

of of

Reclaiming Black

Identities: Reclaiming Black Identities: Afrofuturism Afrofuturism Afrofuturism in River Solomon’s in River Solomon’s in River Solomon’s

Identities: Reclaiming Black

The The The Deep Deep Deep by by by Sara Cosman Sara Cosman Sara Cosman

Grounding by Faith Brooks

Grounding by Faith Brooks

Grounding by Faith Brooks

Answer

Answer

Key by Corey Martin

Key by Corey Martin

Answer Key by Corey Martin

Afterword Afterword Afterword

FAMILY: MOTHER

FATHER

BROTHER
GRANDMA GRANDPA NANA PAPA AUNT UNCLE COUSIN KIN GOLDFISH F A M G O L M O T B F G 4 R T A Q N A N A S S Y I 9 S F H N 4 T E 3 Z R T D X N 4 2 A E D F 4 T H E U 2 F F N E 7 R P A P A V N I 9 A W 3 S H F A H O 6 G C P G T G R E A 3 H L V E W L S P H E 9 P R E R 9 C D K B F S I N R 0 S 2 4 F A H E R Y 7 D Z 0 I 6 K 8 H A T H E 2 F 4
SISTER
F 5 4 7 8 3 2 A 5 4 F 4 4 1 4 T 4 H 4 4 4 1 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 7 7 7 2 2 2 5 4 7 8 3 2 2 3 8 7 4 5 2 3 8 8 3 2 5 4 7 8 3 2

in the backseat of the company van, in the backseat of the company van,

exposing his new habit to tonight’s exposing his new habit to tonight’s gluten-free pastries and vegan appetizers, gluten-free pastries and vegan appetizers, just this one last time. just this one last time.

The Rise The Rise

TheCyc TTheCyc heCyc

the ornamental kitchen is sterile in preparation

the ornamental kitchen is sterile in preparation for the chef, The Cyclone, for the chef, The Cyclone, pelting rain behind synthetic euphoria and a white apron. pelting rain behind synthetic euphoria and a white apron.

paranoid, he examines the customer’s oak table littered paranoid, he examines the customer’s oak table littered like a pumpkin scented autumnal shrine, like a pumpkin scented autumnal shrine,

winter is arriving sooner than expected, as its first storm

winter is arriving sooner than expected, as its first storm caresses his right nostril. caresses his right nostril.

he’s swaying with pupils larger than the gold chandelier in he’s swaying with pupils larger than the gold chandelier in the embellished dining room, the embellished dining room,

as the last guest passes him to sit, as the last guest passes him to sit, a cloud of her perfume swallows him, a cloud of her perfume swallows him, reminding him of the woman who reminding him of the woman who haunts his rarely vacant mind, haunts his rarely vacant mind, whom he creates blizzards just to blind himself from, whom he creates blizzards just to blind himself from, who he sacrificed to The Cyclone. who he sacrificed to The Cyclone.

he establishes the hierarchy of the kitchen to his diners, he establishes the hierarchy of the kitchen to his diners, he the king, the sous-chef, he the king, the sous-chef, never mind that sous translates to subordinate, never mind that sous translates to subordinate, flooded with false confidence, he announces the first flooded with false confidence, he announces the first course’s wine pairing. course’s wine pairing.

The Rush The Rush

his ears are unable to distinguish between the beeping his ears are unable to distinguish between the beeping of the oven and the new temporarily persistent tinnitus. of the oven and the new temporarily persistent tinnitus.

he slices his right index finger, betrayed by his he slices his right index finger, betrayed by his beloved Japanese blade and his hand’s involuntary tremor, beloved Japanese blade and his hand’s involuntary tremor,

by Cath by Cath by Cath illustrated b illustrated b illustrated b

lone llone one

all his chefs, too, are twenty-one-year-olds all his chefs, too, are twenty-one-year-olds distracting themselves from occupational grief, distracting themselves from occupational grief,

born out of the muted desire for a quieter life, where job born out of the muted desire for a quieter life, where job security does not require forfeiting your youth, security does not require forfeiting your youth,

the joué is burning. the joué is burning. smoke replaces the minimal air in the kitchen, smoke replaces the minimal air in the kitchen, his heart palpitates in deafening irregular rhythms loud his heart palpitates in deafening irregular rhythms loud enough that he cannot hear the world howl at him to stop, enough that he cannot hear the world howl at him to stop,

pressure builds in his chest—The Cyclone wants out. pressure builds in his chest—The Cyclone wants out. The Come Down The Come Down his senses begin to return from under his senses begin to return from under the cloak of white illicit delusion, the cloak of white illicit delusion, he dices shallots to drown out memories of the woman's he dices shallots to drown out memories of the woman's voice singing their favourite song in his car, voice singing their favourite song in his car, begging him to crawl home, begging him to crawl home, the blood in his nose has dried—her perfume resumes its the blood in his nose has dried—her perfume resumes its uninvited creep into his right nostril. uninvited creep into his right nostril.

he reignites his dormant belief in the Lord, he reignites his dormant belief in the Lord, praying he’ll no longer saturate himself with vicious praying he’ll no longer saturate himself with vicious substances to complete a day, substances to complete a day,

an envious atheist, he returns to the backseat of the an envious atheist, he returns to the backseat of the company van, as choice is his God, company van, as choice is his God,

it is winter in october, it is winter in october, powder snow as if deep in december, powder snow as if deep in december, this happens all the time, this happens all the time,

erine Parkeerine Parke erine Parke y AudraCrago y AudraCrago y AudraCrago

the blue moon’s shroud will rise again tomorrow, the blue moon’s shroud will rise again tomorrow, preparing him for the next twelve hour preparing him for the next twelve hour thanksgiving party shift, thanksgiving party shift, this happens all the time, this happens all the time,

13 13
14 14

Works Cited

Barnes, Rebecca. “‘Suffering in a Silent Vacuum’: Woman-to-Woman Partner Abuse as a Challenge to the Lesbian Feminist Vision.” Feminism & Psychology, vol. 21, no. 2, 2010, pp. 233–239.

doi:10.1177/0959353510370183.

Machado, Carmen Maria. In the Dream House. Strange Light, 2019.

Winterson, Jeanette. “The Poetics of Sex.” The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories, edited by Margaret Reynolds, Penguin Books, 1993, pp. 412–422.

MOME MOME MOME

illustrated by Anna illustrated by

The light, blinding and blue, The light, blinding and blue, The light, blinding and blue, Ancestral nets reeking of brine and fish, Ancestral nets reeking of brine and fish, Ancestral nets reeking of brine and fish, Lapping waves bouncing against the bow, Lapping waves bouncing against the bow, Lapping waves bouncing against the bow,

The chugging, stalling of the ancient Johnson that never gave up, The chugging, stalling of the ancient Johnson that never gave up, The stalling of the ancient Johnson that never gave up, Skin covered in slime, Skin covered in slime, Skin covered in slime,

Shaking and cold, Shaking and cold, Shaking and cold, I had fallen underneath the churning waves over the side of the boat. I had underneath the churning waves over the side of the boat. I had fallen underneath the churning waves over the side of the boat.

Fascinated by the disappearing snowflakes into the rippling undertow, Sucked under like how pike gulp down unaware ducklings, Sucked under like how pike gulp down unaware ducklings, Sucked under like how pike gulp down unaware ducklings, Only I had bobbed back up with a gasp for breath into icy air, Only I had bobbed back up with a gasp for breath into icy air, Only I had bobbed back up with a gasp for breath into icy air, I let out a cry. I let out a cry. I let out a cry.

Fascinated by the disappearing snowflakes into the rippling undertow, Fascinated by the disappearing snowflakes into the rippling undertow,

A voice called for me.

A voice called for me. voice called for me.

I was plucked by the back of my life jacket into safety

I was plucked by the back of my life jacket into safety

I was plucked by the back of my life jacket into safety in one swoop of a woolen wing. in one swoop of a woolen wing. in one swoop of a woolen wing.

And my nose filled with the smell of tobacco and sweat,

And my nose filled with the smell of tobacco and sweat,

And my nose filled with the smell of tobacco and sweat, Mutterings in the old tongue were gentle but reprimanding, Mutterings in the old tongue were gentle but reprimanding, Mutterings in the old tongue were gentle but reprimanding,

My arms jerked and trembled in response.

My arms jerked and trembled in response.

My arms jerked and trembled in response.

Into outstretched arms with hair slicked to my face like leeches, Into outstretched arms with hair slicked to my face like leeches, outstretched arms with hair slicked to my face like leeches, Quickly tucked under the multiple plaid layers protected

Quickly tucked under the multiple plaid layers protected

Quickly tucked under the multiple plaid layers protected and sheltered from hissing sprays of water, and sheltered from hissing sprays of water, and sheltered from hissing sprays of water,

Nestled and hidden like a mother hen hoarding her eggs

Nestled and hidden like a mother hen hoarding her eggs

Nestled and hidden like a mother hen hoarding her eggs with golden yolks inside. with golden yolks inside. with golden yolks inside.

A kiss on the head and tightening of a fierce grip.

A kiss on the head and tightening of a fierce grip.

A kiss the head and tightening a fierce

Held close and swaddled, I lay still. Held close and swaddled, I lay still. Held close and swaddled, I lay still.

The heat seeps into my skin and warmth pools in my bones

The heat seeps into my skin and warmth pools in my bones

The heat seeps into my skin and warmth pools in my bones and into my marrow. and into my marrow. and into my marrow.

My eyelids fall, heavy and drooping. My eyelids fall, heavy and drooping. My eyelids fall, heavy and drooping.

The howling of the wind and the rocking of the boat, The howling of the wind and the rocking of the boat, The howling of the wind and the rocking of the boat,

Drowned out by the rhythmic thumping against my ear. out by the rhythmic thumping against my ear.

Drowned out by the rhythmic thumping against my ear.

I no longer need to wail. I no longer need to wail. I no need to wail.

illustrated by Katharine Sung

O thou art encompassing, goddess.

O thou art encompassing, goddess.

O thou art encompassing, goddess.

The gentle dips and rounded curves, The gentle dips and rounded curves, The gentle dips and rounded curves, the sharp divots and peeking arches became known the sharp divots and peeking arches became known the sharp divots and peeking arches became known to my sorry, wandering hands. to my sorry, wandering hands. to my sorry, wandering hands.

Pillars of supple, freckled skin kissed delicately

Pillars of supple, freckled skin kissed delicately

Pillars of supple, freckled skin kissed delicately by sunlight draped in white silk. by sunlight draped in white silk. by sunlight draped in white silk.

Heavy cream and honeyed wine on parted, darkened, sanguine lips. You tasted mine and found them to be the same sticky sweet. You tasted mine and found them to be the same sticky sweet. You tasted mine and found them to be the same sticky sweet.

Heavy cream and honeyed wine on parted, darkened, sanguine lips.

Heavy cream and honeyed wine on parted, darkened, sanguine lips.

O thou art blameless, goddess.

O thou art blameless, goddess.

O thou art blameless, goddess.

So rapidly did my heart, beating and bare, fall to your feet. So rapidly did my heart, beating and bare, fall to your feet.

So rapidly did my heart, beating and bare, fall to your feet.

Plucked with bloodied, raw fingertips, you feasted Plucked with bloodied, raw fingertips, you feasted Plucked with bloodied, raw fingertips, you feasted on the threads that remained. on the threads that remained. on the threads that remained.

The pungent smell of raw flesh blooming scarlet, sliced free.

The pungent smell of raw flesh blooming scarlet, sliced free.

The pungent smell of raw flesh blooming scarlet, sliced free.

Covered in my viscera, the color of ripened pomegranate seeds,

Covered in my viscera, the color of ripened pomegranate seeds, Covered in my viscera, the color of ripened pomegranate seeds,

Slipped into my mouth, the iron and salt slicked my vocal chords, Slipped into my mouth, the iron and salt slicked my vocal chords, Slipped into my mouth, the iron and salt slicked my vocal chords, Heavy with yellow, thickened phlegm.

Heavy with yellow, thickened phlegm.

Heavy with yellow, thickened phlegm.

O thou art noble, goddess.

O thou art noble, goddess.

O thou art noble, goddess.

Slithered into my stomach, twisted and tangled

Slithered into my stomach, twisted and tangled

Slithered into my stomach, twisted and tangled into a place for you to rest. into a place for you to rest. into a place for you to rest.

My entrails, a menagerie of shapes woven into rope for you to climb.

My entrails, a menagerie of shapes woven into rope for you to climb.

My entrails, a menagerie of shapes woven into rope for you to climb.

My kidneys, sponges for your love to scrub clean.

My kidneys, sponges for your love to scrub clean. My kidneys, sponges for your love to scrub clean.

O thou art kindness, goddess.

O thou art kindness, goddess.

O thou art kindness, goddess.

In the ebb of your calm, flowing life into dreams, I find it.

In the ebb of your calm, flowing life into dreams, I find it.

In the ebb of your calm, flowing life into dreams, I find it.

Sweet enough to rot the teeth still caught in my jaw.

Sweet enough to rot the teeth still caught in my jaw.

Sweet enough to rot the teeth still caught in my jaw.

O thou art merciful, goddess.

O thou art merciful, goddess.

O thou art merciful, goddess.

The foaming belladonna spit upon parted lips slipped

The foaming belladonna spit upon parted lips slipped

The foaming belladonna spit upon parted lips slipped carefully into the gift of the vine. carefully into the gift of the vine. carefully into the gift of the vine.

O thou art love, goddess.

O thou art love, goddess.

O thou art love, goddess.

There is no funeral for the boy who drowned in the lake. There is no funeral for the boy who drowned in the lake. There is no funeral for the boy who drowned in the lake.

He was only sixteen, a year older than me. A life ahead of him, until there

He was only sixteen, a year older than me. A life ahead of him, until there

He was only sixteen, a year older than me. A life ahead of him, until there wasn’t. Until someone saw him kissing Tommy Gilner from down the lane at wasn’t. Until someone saw him kissing Tommy Gilner from down the lane at wasn’t. Until someone saw him kissing Tommy Gilner from down the lane at some party. Until he threw himself from the cliffs and landed spine first on some party. Until he threw himself from the cliffs and landed spine first on some party. Until he threw himself from the cliffs and landed spine first on the rocks. That’s what all the reports will say. the rocks. That’s what all the reports will say. the rocks. That’s what all the reports will say.

Tragedy will be the word whispered amidst the pews this Sunday. His daddy Tragedy will be the word whispered amidst the pews this Sunday. His daddy

Tragedy will be the word whispered amidst the pews this Sunday. His daddy hasn’t been to church in years, but this week he will attend, face tight and lips hasn’t been to church in years, but this week he will attend, face tight and lips hasn’t been to church in years, but this week he will attend, face tight and lips pressed. Terse nods and stiff shoulders. pressed. Terse nods and stiff shoulders. pressed. Terse nods and stiff shoulders.

No one will mention the way the boy’s injuries do not match the official No one will mention the way the boy’s injuries do not match the official No one will mention the way the boy’s injuries do not match the official record. That his spine was shattered in a way that would suggest multiple record. That his spine was shattered in a way that would suggest multiple record. That his spine was shattered in a way that would suggest multiple impacts. impacts. impacts.

The boy who drowned in the lake was born with a small lump in his back, The boy who drowned in the lake was born with a small lump in his back, The boy who drowned in the lake was born with a small lump in his back, where his spine jutted out slightly more than usual. I used to run my fingers where his spine jutted out slightly more than usual. I used to run my fingers where his spine jutted out slightly more than usual. I used to run my fingers over it, over his gorgeous, patterned skin of cream and purple, when we lay over it, over his gorgeous, patterned skin of cream and purple, when we lay over it, over his gorgeous, patterned skin of cream and purple, when we lay together in his daddy’s trailer, flies buzzing against the screen windows. He together in his daddy’s trailer, flies buzzing against the screen windows. He together in his daddy’s trailer, flies buzzing against the screen windows. He would smile and tell me it was where God planned to give him his wings. would smile and tell me it was where God planned to give him his wings. would smile and tell me it was where God planned to give him his wings.

His hands would wrap around my arms, caress the scattering of faded lines

His hands would wrap around my arms, caress the scattering of faded lines

His hands would wrap around my arms, caress the scattering of faded lines he found on the insides, just above my wrists. After, he would always say he found on the insides, just above my wrists. After, he would always say he found on the insides, just above my wrists. After, he would always say that I would not grow wings like him. I would grow horns. that I would not grow wings like him. I would grow horns. that I would not grow wings like him. I would grow horns.

by Sam Arkeveld by Sam Arkeveld by Sam Arkeveld illustrated by Leo Feng illustrated by Leo Feng illustrated by Leo Feng

Then he would kiss me and we would fuck each other again. Then he would kiss me and we would fuck each other again. Then he would kiss me and we would fuck each other again.

We used to walk around the town together, the dirt streets we knew like

We used to walk around the town together, the dirt streets we knew like

We used to walk around the town together, the dirt streets we knew like each other’s lips, dreaming of a way out. We’d stop at the corner store

each other’s lips, dreaming of a way out. We’d stop at the corner store sometimes to pick up a drink if we’d forgotten to snag a beer or two from sometimes to pick up a drink if we’d forgotten to snag a beer or two from sometimes to pick up a drink if we’d forgotten to snag a beer or two from his daddy’s stash. He never went to church but would meet me afterwards, his daddy’s stash. He never went to church but would meet me afterwards, his daddy’s stash. He never went to church but would meet me afterwards, and we would laugh at the people I’d describe to him, the secrets I’d happen and we would laugh at the people I’d describe to him, the secrets I’d happen and we would laugh at the people I’d describe to him, the secrets I’d happen to overhear. to overhear. to overhear.

each other’s lips, dreaming of a way out. We’d stop at the corner store

When we would find our way into the woods by the edge of town, he When we would find our way into the woods by the edge of town, he When we would find our way into the woods by the edge of town, he always made me tell him something no one else knew. The first time, I said I always made me tell him something no one else knew. The first time, I said I always made me tell him something no one else knew. The first time, I said I didn’t know how to swim. He stopped in his tracks and faced me. didn’t know how to swim. He stopped in his tracks and faced me. didn’t know how to swim. He stopped in his tracks and faced me.

No, he said. Tell me something real. No, he said. Tell me something real. No, he said. Tell me something real.

I didn’t have to ask what that meant. We walked in silence for a few minutes, I didn’t have to ask what that meant. We walked in silence for a few minutes, I didn’t have to ask what that meant. We walked in silence for a few minutes, until we were deep and lost in the thick oaks. I looked over at him finally and until we were deep and lost in the thick oaks. I looked over at him finally and until we were deep and lost in the thick oaks. I looked over at him finally and said that if I could, I’d find my Pa’s shotgun and shoot his daddy right through said that if I could, I’d find my Pa’s shotgun and shoot his daddy right through said that if I could, I’d find my Pa’s shotgun and shoot his daddy right through his fucking skull. his fucking skull. his fucking skull.

He grinned real wide at that. He grinned real wide at that. He grinned real wide at that.

That was where he died. Those woods where we fed from each other, two

That was where he died. Those woods where we fed from each other, two beasts ravenous for comfort in a world held little for us. There was no party. beasts ravenous for comfort in a world held little for us. There was no party.

That was where he died. Those woods where we fed from each other, two

beasts ravenous for comfort in a world held little for us. There was no party. He never kissed Tommy Gilner from down the lane. I was his, after all, and he He never kissed Tommy Gilner from down the lane. I was his, after all, and he He never kissed Tommy Gilner from down the lane. I was his, after all, and he was mine, and that was something sacred. was mine, and that was something sacred. was mine, and that was something sacred.

That That That was fucking religion. was fucking religion. was fucking religion.

Six boys from the high school found us by Six boys from the high school found us by Six boys from the high school found us by the lake, shirtless from the heat of the the lake, shirtless from the heat of the the lake, shirtless from the heat of the night. Out here, the stars are bright, so it night. Out here, the stars are bright, so it night. Out here, the stars are bright, so it was easy to see everything as it was easy to see everything as it was easy to see everything as it happened. Four of them held me back as happened. Four of them held me back as happened. Four of them held me back as they dragged us up to the cliffs. Blood they dragged us up to the cliffs. Blood they dragged us up to the cliffs. Blood coated my mouth. Not mine. I’d managed coated my mouth. Not mine. I’d managed coated my mouth. Not mine. I’d managed to bite one of them, tear off a chunk of to bite one of them, tear off a chunk of to bite one of them, tear off a chunk of flesh from his thumb. flesh from his thumb. flesh from his thumb.

They noticed his hunchback. The place I’d They noticed his hunchback. The place I’d They noticed his hunchback. The place I’d caressed so tenderly. Get that from bending caressed so tenderly. Get that from bending caressed so tenderly. Get that from bending over for this one here? Wouldn’t have taken over for this one here? Wouldn’t have taken over for this one here? Wouldn’t have taken you as the girl, they said. you as the girl, they said. you as the girl, they said.

They made me watch. Watch them pummel They made me watch. Watch them pummel They made me watch. Watch them pummel his face until he fell on his stomach and his face until he fell on his stomach and his face until he fell on his stomach and covered his head with his arms. He didn’t covered his head with his arms. He didn’t covered his head with his arms. He didn’t cry. Or maybe I just couldn’t hear over my cry. Or maybe I just couldn’t hear over my cry. Or maybe I just couldn’t hear over my screams. I told them I would kill them all, screams. I told them I would kill them all, screams. I told them I would kill them all, that I’d cut them open one by one and have that I’d cut them open one by one and have that I’d cut them open one by one and have the birds come peck out their insides while the birds come peck out their insides while the birds come peck out their insides while they were still alive. They just laughed. they were still alive. They just laughed. they were still alive. They just laughed.

One of them took a rock, a stone that seemed impossibly large for anyone

One of them took a rock, a stone that seemed impossibly large for anyone

One of them took a rock, a stone that seemed impossibly large for anyone to hold. Let’s whip him back into perfect form, hey? to hold. Let’s whip him back into perfect form, hey? to hold. Let’s whip him back into perfect form, hey?

I watched, thrashing, snarling, as they took the rock and slammed it down

I watched, thrashing, snarling, as they took the rock and slammed it down

I watched, thrashing, snarling, as they took the rock and slammed it down onto his spine, right on the spot where it jutted out. The bone crunched onto his spine, right on the spot where it jutted out. The bone crunched onto his spine, right on the spot where it jutted out. The bone crunched repeatedly as they did it over. And over. And over. Splinters of white repeatedly as they did it over. And over. And over. Splinters of white repeatedly as they did it over. And over. And over. Splinters of white glistened on the rock in the starlight. Splinters of him, taken unrightfully glistened on the rock in the starlight. Splinters of him, taken unrightfully glistened on the rock in the starlight. Splinters of him, taken unrightfully from me. When did I start crying? Before he went still or after? from me. When did I start crying? Before he went still or after? from me. When did I start crying? Before he went still or after?

When they were finished, they tossed the rock over the edge. of the cliff. I When they were finished, they tossed the rock over the edge. of the cliff. I When they were finished, they tossed the rock over the edge. of the cliff. I didn’t hear it hit the water. They left me with him. Two boys once again didn’t hear it hit the water. They left me with him. Two boys once again didn’t hear it hit the water. They left me with him. Two boys once again alone in the woods we made ours. alone in the woods we made ours. alone in the woods we made ours.

He didn’t move. Eyes closed, mouth open, rasping breaths. I held his head and He didn’t move. Eyes closed, mouth open, rasping breaths. I held his head and He didn’t move. Eyes closed, mouth open, rasping breaths. I held his head and for the first time in my life, prayed and meant it. It wasn’t enough. for the first time in my life, prayed and meant it. It wasn’t enough. for the first time in my life, prayed and meant it. It wasn’t enough.

The blood coating his back looked like wings. The blood coating his back looked like wings. The blood coating his back looked like wings.

I don’t remember pushing the body into the lake, but that’s where they found I don’t remember pushing the body into the lake, but that’s where they found I don’t remember pushing the body into the lake, but that’s where they found it. The body. It. How quickly someone transforms into some it. The body. It. How quickly someone transforms into some it. The body. It. How quickly someone transforms into something thing thing in death. in death. in death.

There is no funeral for the boy in the lake. There is no funeral for the boy in the lake. There is no funeral for the boy in the lake.

I sit in my bedroom with a razor and a fierce heat in my temples. Slowly, I sit in my bedroom with a razor and a fierce heat in my temples. Slowly, I sit in my bedroom with a razor and a fierce heat in my temples. Slowly, I drag the blade across the inside of my arm, over skin, over veins, I drag the blade across the inside of my arm, over skin, over veins, I drag the blade across the inside of my arm, over skin, over veins, ignoring the familiar pain, ignoring the way my sheets soak up the flow. ignoring the familiar pain, ignoring the way my sheets soak up the flow. ignoring the familiar pain, ignoring the way my sheets soak up the flow.

I give my flesh freely in promise. Just this once, just for him. Letter by I give my flesh freely in promise. Just this once, just for him. Letter by I give my flesh freely in promise. Just this once, just for him. Letter by letter he comes back to me. letter he comes back to me. letter he comes back to me.

When I am finished, my skin is a jagged mess. When I am finished, my skin is a jagged mess. When I am finished, my skin is a jagged mess. Mason Mason Mason, it reads. , it reads. , it reads.

There is no funeral for Mason. But I will remember. There is no funeral for Mason. But I will remember. There is no funeral for Mason. But I will remember.

Poisonous Poisonous saliva slips saliva slips between your teeth. between your teeth.

Mouths hungry Mouths hungry

for parts of a body for parts of a body but not a soul, not a mind, but not a soul, not a mind, not a word: not a word: Butterflies Butterflies swarm around me swarm around me then fall then fall to the ground to the ground

as a caterpillar. as a caterpillar. I climb I climb trees forty feet tall trees forty feet tall that shrink that shrink into blades of grass. into blades of grass. I submerge I submerge in freezing lakes in freezing lakes and wash up on a shore and wash up on a shore with a crimson sand with a crimson sand

shower curtain. shower curtain. I meet women I meet women behind peeling wallpaper behind peeling wallpaper and green knights and green knights who call who call for my head. Searching for my head. Searching my mind for a sound. my mind for a sound. Yes, I say, anything Yes, I say, anything that screams “women behaving that screams “women behaving badly” Burned, badly” Burned,

tied over the flames, tied over the flames, tried over the flames. tried over the flames.

Trapped in the kiln Trapped in the kiln a woman stands, a woman stands, now a statue; now a statue; immovable, immovable, a work of art, a work of art, but void of life. but void of life.

You hold me close, You hold me close, exhale, as your arms exhale, as your arms become chains crossing become chains crossing my body: announcing my body: announcing “this next trick is “this next trick is the taming the taming of something wild.” of something wild.”

Shrew Shrew

illustrated

Reclaiming

Black Identities: in Rivers Solomon’s The Deep

Sara Cosman by Sara Cosman

In The Deep, Rivers Solomon loosely adheres to the science fiction genre to confront the relationship between post-colonialideologiesandthepersistenceofmemoryina novella deeply coded with genderqueer possibilities and reclamationofracialfantasy.Adaptedfromasongofthe same name produced by the band Clipping., The Deep follows the Wajinru people, a society of merfolk who are descendantsofenslavedpregnantAfricanwomen,asthey live blissfully unaware of the trauma of their past (Solomon). Yetu alone guards and holds her people’s memory,whosevoiceanddesiretoberememberedallows Solomontoexaminehowsocialamnesiafuelsraciallogicin settler colonial structures and eradicates the validity of black identities. Using Maya Mikdahsi’s perspectives of settler colonialism as the colonization of memory through Solomon’s use of remembering, we can see how Yetu’s identityhasbeenstolenfromjustasherhistoryhas.The novellaultimatelysuggeststhenecessityofAfrofuturismin science fiction literature as it challenges the precedent framing of Black otherness and focuses instead on the reclamation of identity as it intersects with the sexual relations,race,andgenderofthe Wajinru.

Examining Rivers Solomon’s The Deep through the lens of colonization, racialization, and the marginalization of genderqueer identities reveals the need for an Afrofuturist perspective to address the double bind of settler colonialist ideologies, particularly when considering the enduring power of memory and the framing of intersectional otherness asdemonstratedbythe Wajinru peoples.

Examining Yetu’s loss of identity in tandem with the erasure of her people's history suggests that social amnesia, fuels racial logic and colonized structures that policeBlackbodies.Socialamnesia,asdefinedbyRobyn Maynard, is the erasure of history to justify and perpetuate the structures and racial logic that dominate the past, present, and future disenfranchisement and surveillanceofBlackbodies(Maynard19).

Theconceptscreateadoublebindthateradicatesthe possibility for change between the sanctioned racial logic that validates structural societal relationships to Black bodiesandthesocialamnesiathaterasessuchviolence.In her book, within a chapter titled “Devaluing Black Life, DemonizingBlackBodies,”Maynardunderlinestheeffects ofsocialamnesiaasessentialto:

Understand[ing] anti-Black policing in the Understand[ing] anti-Black policing in the Understand[ing] anti-Black policing in the current epoch. It is only in recovering this current epoch. It is only in recovering this current epoch. It is only in recovering this original brutality by engaging in the making original brutality by engaging in the making original brutality by engaging in the making of the perceived relationship between Black of the perceived relationship between Black of the perceived relationship between Black bodies, inferiority, and pathology so that we bodies, inferiority, and pathology so that we bodies, inferiority, and pathology so that we may more thoroughly understand the may more thoroughly understand the may more thoroughly understand the contemporary disenfranchisement of Black contemporary disenfranchisement of Black contemporary disenfranchisement of Black life through policing and other state life through policing and other state life through policing and other state institutions. (19) institutions. (19) institutions. (19)

Maynard’sdefinitionofsocialamnesiahighlights the importance of understanding the history of Black subjugation to recognize the paradigms in place that inform racism. Engaging with the relationship between Black bodies is crucial as we must analyze how colonizers have not only perceived but created these relationships - or at least the social and structural perception of them. Solomon illustrates this through the protagonist, Yetu, whose identity is lost in the context of the erasure of her history. When Yetu faces the Wajniru people who have now remembered the violence of their pasts, she “[swims] closer, it wouldn’t work to shout, “ because “Shouting had never woken [her] frombeinglostinthehistory,”(Solomon144).

Yetu’s silence signifies her awareness of her voice’s weakness, especially in reclaiming her history,assheknowshershoutingcannotovercome the violence of erasure. Solomon distinctly emphasizes Yetu's voice as a marker of her identity as she uses it to establish her differences with Ooti (86). Solomon’s distinct focus on Yetu’s voice as something that identifies her individuality but confines her freedom highlights the pressure placed onBlackindividualstoremainpassiveinthefaceof unust racial stereotypes. A society’s collective forgetfulness of the violence that fuels present racializedstructures,perpetuatesthesestereotypes, and has resulted in a significant loss of awareness and understanding. By analyzing Maya Mikdahsi’s perspectivesofsettlercolonialism

asthecolonizationofmemory,wecanunderstandhow Solomon demonstrates the complicated relationship between history and identity in The Deep. Broadly, settler colonialism attempts to take over and replace a society through eradication or assimilation and manifestsinnumerousways(Mikdashi31).

Additionally, in What is Settler Colonialism? (For Leo DelanoAmesJr.),MayaMikdashimodifiesthedefinition to include “The history of a family welded together by nativesandsettlers,”addingthat“itisthe logic of superiority, of primacy, of genocide. It is the colonization of memory and of events that come to be known as 'history'," (Mikdashi 34). The scholars’ definition emphasizes that for communities of people who are displaced, eradicated, or assimilated due to settler colonialism, colonization extends beyond the physical colonization of their people to the colonization of their memories. Settlers adopt a logic of superiority that effectively erases history and constructs their ideologies and narratives. The Deep illustrates the effects of colonized memory through The Remembering of the Wajinru people, as they are intrinsically inseparable from their history; without their memories, they lose their people, identities, and homeland. Solomons' most striking use of such

theories is through the protagonist, Yetu, and her relationshipher relationship to the Wajinru past as the historian who guards their memories.

Toward the end of the novella, after Yetu grapples with the truth and violence displaced upon the Wajinru, Yetu illustrates how connected history is to the memory of the Wajinru:

Wanting the world to exist, to be more than just a place with a history no one would ever know. […] Sheletthemultipletruthsexistinsideofher

Yetu notes the “history that no onewouldeverknow,”illustrating how connected the Wajinru’s history is to their memory (Solomon142).Becausecolonizers have stolen their memories to assert their superiority, the Wajinru history asawayofmediating.[…]and accept the multitudes inside herself. […] it made her remember that she existed,’ (Solomon142).

will remain unknown. Salient in this passage is Solomon’s distinction between the multitude of truths existing inside Yetu and the acceptance of said truths. As Yetu comes to acceptthetruthsofherhistoryagainstthosethatcomprise her identities - her race, her queerness, her gender, and otherintersectionsofselves-herpresentexistenceproves itselfbythedistinctrememberingofherstolenhistory.

Having analyzed the use of social amnesia and memory to reshape and reclaim Black identities, thereisaclearneedforanAfrofuturistlenssuchas Solomon’s in science fiction depictions of the other to reclaim representations of Black identities. Afrofuturismcanbedefinedsimplyassciencefiction as it represents the lives of Black people, yet for writers like Ytasha Womack, it denotes the intersection of imagination, technology, the future, andtheliberationofblackpeople(Womack).

The identities of the others in science fiction are often marginalized as those who are less than the settlers who discovered the land. In The Deep, Solomon flips this narrative by clearly distinguishing the identity of the Wajinru people,andratherthanfocusingontheframingof otherness, focuses on the reclamation of history and identity.InacharmingexchangebetweenYetuandtheland dweller Oori, our protagonist reflects, “How pleasing to thinkOorihadquestionsforherjustasYetuhadquestions for Oori. Oori wanted to know more about Yetu. She believedtherewasaYetutogettoknowatall,”illustrating how Solomon focuses on the identity and culture of the other rather than their abnormality (Solomon 16). In Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future,LisaYaszekestablisheshowAfrofuturistartistscan fight the paradigms of dystopian fiction to address the actualreclamationofidentity:

Perspecitivising the envisioned tomorrow of science fiction literature without an Afrofuturist lens can only perpetuate the embedded colonial structures of the past that define the present and build our future. The Deep radicalizes a literary science fiction canon that typically focusesonheroizedsettlerswhodiscoverTerranullius.

Instead, the novella focuses on the reclamation of Wajinru memories and Yetu's identity after the enslavementofhistory. TheDeep usesthepastframing ofBlackpolicingtoreclaimthehistoryandexperiences of Black people, especially their representational othernessinsciencefiction.

In consideration of settler colonialism as the colonization of memory, the social amnesia that fuels racial logic and the ever-present need for Afrofuturisminsciencefiction, RiversSolomon’s The Deep offers an intersectional analysis of the persistence of memory in the reclamation of identity, historyandothernessinsciencefictionliterature.

By pivoting the framing of the other through an Afrofuturist lens, Solomon suggests that the other does not have to be feared or isolated because of theirdifference.Instead,byaddressing the bindings of colonialist structures, wecanuseAfrofuturismtoreclaimthe stolen identities of Black bodies and rewritewhathascometobeknownas history.

Works Cited

Maynard, Robyn. “Devaluing Black Life, Demonizing Black Bodies Anti-Blackness from Slavery to Segregation.” PolicingBlackLives:StateViolenceinCanadafrom Slavery tothePresent. Fernwood Publishing, 2017.

Mikdashi, Maya. “What Is Settler Colonialism? (For Leo Delano Ames Jr..).” American IndianCultureand ResearchJournal, vol. 37, no. 2, 2013, pp. 23–34.

doi:10.17953/aicr.37.2.c33g723731073714.

Solomon, Rivers, et al. TheDeep. Gallery / Saga Press, 2019.

Womack, Ytasha L. Afrofuturism:TheWorldofBlackSci-Fi

andFantasyCulture. Lawrence Hill Books, 2013. (“A review of "AFROFUTURISM" by Ytasha L. Womack — AGOTT”)

Yaszek, Lisa. “Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future.” Socialismand Democracy, vol. 20, no. 3, 2006, pp. 41–60.

doi:10.1080/08854300600950236.

i.

At the spindle top branch balancing flightless, thin and heavy, when the siren sings (Golden one golden one golden one) of her -

Fleeing for earth, exile’s attempt at homecoming slip down bark, scrape palms break knees prostrate to ground shove a hand wrist-deep through stubborn soil until elbow, shoulder, wracking knuckles against roots ripping, tearing, wrapping knot around the waist, leashed.

ii. (golden one)

She recognized me in my father’s shirt Recognized me in this two-person body all teeth without tongue

(I don’t know much about but I rub lotion into her skin)

Recognized even the scars on my blue dripping beast

Baby - i.

Softweighted belt buckled flat to forest floor, warm leaf blanket and sunlight streams -

Next to me she lies, Hand in mine, grounded.

Answer Key Answer Key

FAMILY:

MOTHER

FATHER

BROTHER

SISTER NANA PAPA AUNT UNCLE COUSIN

KIN GOLDFISH

DYKES POETS

DANCERS QUEERS

FAGS
F A M I L Y : F 4 7 H 3 R F G O L D F I S H Q G 9 A S A M O T H E R J 6 U Z 3 T K T B R O T H E R U 0 E C 8 S H F G R A N D M A 4 Y 8 E E M 3 4 R U F A T H K R K R 0 R T A Q N A N A S S Y I 9 S F H N 4 T E 3 Z R T D X N 4 2 A E D F 4 T H E U 2 F F N E 7 R P A P A V N I 9 A W 3 S H F A H O 6 G C P G T G R E A 3 H L V E W L S P H E 9 P R T G 3 S I S T E R 9 C D K B F H Q R 7 C O U S I N R 0 S 2 4 3 4 Z 8 I 9 F A H E R Y 7 R T 7 U 8 Q J D Z 0 I 6 K 8 H 5 A T H E R F A T H E 2 F 4
LOVERS FREAKS

afterword afterword afterword

In order for me to write In order for me to write poetry that isn’t political, poetry that isn’t political, I must listen to the birds I must listen to the birds and in order to hear the birds, and in order to hear the birds, the warplanes must be silent. the warplanes must be silent.

– Marwan Makhoul, – Marwan Makhoul, Palestinian Poet Palestinian Poet

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.