Williamson Brasfield, Injured Fox with Cat Food, from Cathedrals in the Desert, 2016 (photograph)


It was not the hour of red-flecked birds.
It was not the hour of wood smoke.
It was not the hour of the exquisite chirping of trees.
It was not the hour of ice cream, guitar, or warm bricks, 
ice skating, of neon celebration. This was no hour
for a child. I put on my black mask
and walked into the mountain. I pushed right through the stone. 
I wore a necklace of furred insects, I emerged in a forest,
stepped into a boat, I rocked inside with seismic proportions.
I drew a knife from my belly, plundered the lake. I put on my wolf head, 
my girl arms, my quiver of bodies. I put on my blood
and it put me on. I was a scrub grub. A cold bug. A sharp blade.
A self reaching into a self, a hole. It was my hour of fluttering hands,
hands like wings, hands like a red streak. The red streak
was me. There were no birds. The trees sang a dirge.
I dipped my head into the bile, pulled it up with my name,
like a tongue, clenched between my teeth.


Maya Jewell Zeller