Feature image by El Anatsui. Between Earth and Heaven, 2006. Installation view, aluminum, copper wire. From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. © El Anatsui. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Left for dead by the god of garbled messages:

The worm say he was to hang,
being the first soul to leave the body.
Call his neck plum, when it bruises
say the skin makes it easy to digest.
His stomach—taut and broad, to be carved out.

Call him vessel, passage. The sea allows him,
makes abduction: funeral and birth. He is compromise
of rotting, an acceptable loss. Weighed in knot
and gasp of air.

The lizard say he was to be buried,
being the first soul to leave the body.
Call his bones returning,
when they crumble back to themselves,
call it rest. He is the seed and the harvest.

Call him wet earth when rain gathers
on his skin. Rising with the flood, call him
body crashing, with a forgiveness for hurricanes.

Zumbi say he was to prophesy,
being the first soul to leave the body.
Call his bloodletting: confession or wilderness.
Call his mouth rigor, his tongue hungry.
He say he knows of coming crucifixions,
of revelations. Being the first soul
to leave the body, he say all his body know is hanging,
all his body know is grave, all he know is wilderness.

Call him death, he say his body only know resurrection.

jayy dodd

jayy dodd is a writer, editor and homeboy from Los Angeles, now based in New England. His work has appeared/will appear in Lambda Literary, Prelude, Assaracus, Day One, Winter Tangerine, and The Offing among others. He’s the author of [sugar in the tank] on Pizza Pi Press. You can find him on the internet.