1. Santa Ana, California, 3 a.m. in my cousin’s basement, lights out, television volume spun low. We are huddled around the screen, a small congregation of forgotten children, brown faces illuminated by a five-foot-two Black man, decked out in lace, eyeliner, Spandex and the gutsiest high-heeled
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deeper than dirt
after the poet asked how I would bury my brother Beyond the carrots and blind white worms, beyond the yellowing bone orchards and corkscrew roots, beyond the center of this churchless earth, beloved Peter, my little sorcerer, brought up dirty & wrong, you deserve more than to be smothered in mud. For all the gravel you were fed, for every bruise and knot that named you, I must plant you in a bed of blood-hot muscle, must deliver you into me, so I may carry you as the only mother you have ever known.
Rachel McKibbens was born in Anaheim, California. She is the author of blud (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), Into the Dark & Emptying Field (Small Doggies Press, 2013) and Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009). McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion.