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DEAD LESBIAN II & Poem — Jade Benoit

on October 24 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

She was mid-sentence. Mid-bloom.
Her youngest voice emerged—a mustard seed
shoved deep in her throat—when the arrow
shot straight through her eye. The audience
finally heard her. Our hearts erupted when,
from behind, that arrow tore through an eye so gorgeous
a shade of green. I can’t look at the kelly crest of a fruit-dove
without grieving. A composite of queer survivor,
expunged. Her girlfriend was pregnant.
She was trying to be brave, to shuck away the skin
she still carried from her days inside the last room
inside the last trailer in the park. Dad’s shotgun
& its torrent of shells pelting the floor like a rosary
snapped in half, the beads scattering
way too fast while her mind flashed girl-on-girl
stigmata, repeating: this too shall pass. But this was
the apocalypse. End times stanched the guilt
& we watched her drag her body into the light
only to have a goddamn arrow force her
back down on the train tracks. Clutching a can
of orange soda pop, her story scattered,
unfinished. A moral compass pointing us
to our lifelong fears: coming out
of our torment is just a 360 turn
leaving us oedipal & buried
behind the church while the world
continues to roam.


Right now, we aren’t
two neighbors, undressed
& tapping Morse code
on the wall that divides us.
A slab of ceramic is eggshell
compared to the osmium forest
ringing states between us.
There’s no pearl of glamour
in our distance, only silence
as I press my ear to the floor
& breathe, wishing it was
the channel between your neck
& clavicle. These days,
my icicle heart rushes
to thaw & I’m afraid of the
catastrophe you can see
in its pool. Fear is often absurd
you say. I should be able to share
my fears with you.
So now,
I’m in the attic, mauling
old boxes, like: how could I
misunderstand what loving
someone means? This whole time
I just imagined my face
on the bodies of your monsters
& when I tell you this, you laugh
into the telephone because
you somehow think
no one has a face
quite like mine. I am 127
years old. I just discovered how
to touch my fangs
with fondness instead of
pleading for retraction, how
to smile in a photograph & let
springtime erode my snowy cage.
Jade Benoit’s poetry has appeared in Black Warrior Review, LUNGFULL! Magazine, H_NGM_N, Phoebe, Nashville Review, and many others. The poems submitted here are part of a larger project focused on horror.

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