Krysten Hill

THE WOUNDED DEER

             After Frida Kahlo
            and Morgan Parker

Hunters stay fluent
in damage. 

They stay hungry
to read your insides.

You stay half-
woman and deer

with one panicked heart 
tired from seeding

the language
of your blood

on the terrain.
You stay stalked

only this time
in a clearing,

arrows like a crooked smile
up your back.

Your body stay
a holy book of ache

and other feelings
they will take later.

Arrows drawn
to your leaping heart

cause it stay exposed
and don’t trust

the cover of brush
with its dying.

The last time a hunter asked
Do you wanna die, Bitch?

You were on your way
to something you loved.

You said, Fine,
but I’ll take you with me.

What’s left but to lift
your resolve?

Float it like a ghost
familiar with the wilderness.

When hunters stay after you,
why they mad

when you stay sharp
like your mama’s

good kitchen knife?
Let them be mad

at the space you claim
to make room

for your living.
Keep your glare armed.

Point it at whatever
wants you dead.


ZOMBIES

Someone shares a viral post that we all bleed the same color.
Sometimes, I cry because we have to bleed so much to belong
to anywhere. I cry thinking of anyone bleeding without someone
who loved them to tell them to hold on
in America. I don’t know where to put the blood,

or my anger without scaring my white neighbor
who feels attacked when I can’t handle her knocking
at my door to complain about the incense I burn
when I meditate to get free for five minutes.

My friend says I should try to quiet my mind,
that I shouldn’t hold it in all the time. I can’t even
get through five minutes of trying without a white woman
in my hallway, coughing, waving at something imaginary,
telling me I’m killing her. They after me in a dream—

the zombies, coming from everywhere. I’ve given myself
away. They know where I live. I rush to barricade
my house with unhinged doors and table tops. I can’t find enough nails.
I can’t find a hammer. Everywhere I hide
is a ripped open place despite how determined I am.
They are hungry and I feel it—

what it is to be snatched, pulled until I can see my legs,
arms, organs coveted by so many hands.
It’s a recurring nightmare I wake from, tired,
like there’s a bunch of dead people’s teeth
making a mouth in my heart.


Krysten Hill received her MFA in poetry from UMass Boston where she currently teaches. Her work can be found in apt, The Baltimore Review, B O D Y, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Word Riot, Muzzle, PANK, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Her chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out, received the 2017 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize.

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