by Stephanie Michele-Hempel
At the hospital — & now, I still love your dislocated knee. I miss the way it bent before the wreck. It holds you up so differently now. I think of your blood clot often, nestled there on the back of your leg, a living egg of pain puncturing reality, soft, bloody yolk. I wish I could wrap it up in a scarf. I wish I could kiss its cold, ugly mouth. In the waiting room, you punctured skin until it gave at the edge like weak linen, fraying & you listened & listened & outside the birds of prey prayed for us, their wings pressed together, vulnerable in the winter light, hoping we’d decompose for their dinner. Did we live out of spite? If I could rewrite our lives, I wouldn’t, Mother. I would only offer notes to the editor, redacting your moments of lovelessness of yourself & of us, together. We are one, you said, and I saw it. You & I as a singular, long, tangled mind, attached to a face, constantly laughing, the noise echoing out of two, separate bodies. I am an identity, of yours, disguised as a daughter. You are my color purple and I paint purple on everything I touch. It was you that I needed, not as a god but as a ground, but it wasn’t your fault. A fault is the break in the body of rock, a plane of quaking earth, a shift, a silver-centered line gaping between two halves of the same earth: I don’t know if it was anybody’s fault or if it was a culmination of generational accidents, in simultaneous crescendo, all cells pulsating at the same time: racing, raising, fucking, fleeing, catching, infecting, running, dodging, craving, eroding me into more of an opening than a girl, a canyon, grand, without end.
by Uzomah Ugwu
Stephanie Michele is a human being, first and foremost. She writes & reads & eats watermelon radishes. Her passions are entangled between the written word, art, & the local food system in Denver, Colorado. She is the co-founder of Tiny Spoon, a bite-sized experimental literary magazine.
Uzomah Ugwu is a poet/writer, curator and multi-disciplined artist. Her poetry, writing, and art have been featured internationally in various publications, galleries, and art spaces. She is a political, social, and cultural activist. Her core focus is on human rights, mental health, animal rights, and the rights of LGBTQIA persons. She is also the managing editor and founder of Arte Realizzata.