Read the introduction by guest editor Camille T. Dungy.

 


 

Bloodmemory

 

I won’t call it all carnage.
Iron infuses plasma
with a certain sweet,

which is how I can, even
now, think of the hardboiled
curve of your belly tenderly,

skin pulled taut across
the paunch you’d give
everything  to hide,

the aching knee
you commanded I kiss,
which I did, because I wanted

to please you, always,
because I could not smell
the iron of your intent

the way I smell the onset
of my six-day platelet flood.
It isn’t carnage that summons

phantom hand to my breast,
lips to my ear, preserves
the breath when you were not

uppermost in your thoughts,
only the knead and pull,
only I want you to enjoy.

 

 


 

If At Any Point You Wanted Him to Stop and You Couldn’t Say No That’s Rape

 

N tells me and I can’t (won’t) accept this because
he is many things but he can’t be that.  Yes, she tells me,

if you had to step outside your body quick and quiet/
just to run an errand/ take a breather/ find the dog whistle

moan to get him off (one way or another he needs to get off)
/because you’ve forgotten how to say no, that’s rape.

We are in New Jersey. I stand in the morning space between
N’s living and dining room. I can stand to be many things

but not that woman warped by something she’s too
thick tongued to name. “Oh sweetie. Come here.” I climb

into bed and hold my big sister’s rosary hand, only
this time the prayer is, “I didn’t know.”

 

 


Tafisha A. Edwards is a Guyanese Canadian poet who lives and works in Washington D.C. Her poems have appeared in several print and online publications including: The Offing, PHANTOM, Gigantic Sequins, Fjords Review, The Little Patuxent Review, and Bodega Magazine. She is a Cave Canem Fellow, the recipient of a Zoland Poetry Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park's Jiminéz-Porter Writers' House.

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