shame is a screen door swinging violently shut

Cellular Hierarchies, Effie Jia

i’ve heard about the man who eats boys

in the backseat of cars—we all have,

learned to fear him, the weeping pustule.

i didn’t think i’d come to know him,

let alone share his blood—

shame is a dog, no,

it’s a man who beats dogs

& grinds their teeth into

powder. when i came out

to my mother, she told me

it must come from somewhere

a prison in kentucky, where my uncle

ate away at ten years for hands

on hips, slick from janitorial murk-

water, baptismal font

of the mop bucket, with a boy

of fifteen on his knees

but not praying.

shame is a hooked fish, no,

it’s a man who hooks his

finger under my tongue

& pulls it out. i’ve heard of girls

softening together

& i am one of them

& it’s not the same thing.

we are all the product of sex

or some lesser animal, a beast

with a mouth raised to haunt,

but my lover is my age

& she loves me & not with anything

around her neck. it’s not the same thing,

it’s not.

About the Author

Gabriella Grace · Bradley University

Gabrielle Grace Hogan is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated undergrad from Bradley University in May 2019, and currently attends the University of Texas at Austin as part of the New Writers Project MFA for Poetry. Her work has been published by the Academy of American Poets, Sonora Review, Chicago Review of Books’ Arcturus, and others. 

About the Artist

Effie Jia  · Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Effie recently graduated from MIT, where she studied design and architecture. She loves to build things, draw, travel, hike, garden, and make Spotify playlists. Her interests range from fabrication to sustainability to literature and more; she is curious about everything.

No Comments

Leave a Reply