Madison McCartha

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mine is a body that starts as a sliver of rain
the field repeats—

now that i’m gone

                   now that i’m a procession of plump
                                            mud-babies just in

from the hyper-strife

                           we point our stubby fingers in
our beaks saying aaaak! aaaak!

                                          & of course i oblige
             when i am the blue-faced rooster whose

scales are whitestwhite

i like to crawl into the chest of the decomposing

               & wear us
             loose like an illness-i-don’t-know-what

     i lie awake
                                            for hours this way

with a loneliness like a moist-invisible—

                         we two black lambs mewling in
                               a subway-tunnel-to-no-one

                                       our microscopic faces
calling out at dusk

from the kiwano patch—

                                a little blankblank in every

floating in the floodwater


scientists report

a massive shape-sound
off the coast

do you read me?

            i mean
is there
an instrument

that can read
this body

that gas station
             on fire

this region of


when i am the void
in your mother

you do not tread me

i tread you

tucking you in
raising you up

from the dirt


bury these hands

in your wounds

see?      we’ve never been
so close


it’s true

i haven’t laughed an inch

since i was a black weevil in
the primordial ooze

if you’re hungry
for the end   then


i am a loyal little shrew

in your throat
calling the deceased name thusly

it’s so cramped
between this

black sheet with
bullet holes &

white sheet
with bullet holes

when the vultures come to feed

duh inuksuk
i become

the vultures feeding      calling
the deceased name thusly


in the strife-brane

                                                 that plush-
                     polyp quaking in the corner

you can call him rabbit-rabbit

& this dog-body
lays a gimp-

leg against our monitor to rest      which
                                 tickles like a rumor

the white-latex-
sky sucks up

                      my ghost
folding-shut behind me


i know better

but my coding says
i’m attracted to the blacklight      like you

                                when hear the voices

scratched-out of a village-

but continue to chew the wheat-cake-of-empire

                                   i hang my

      low with the look of a dry-wood-
                        in the hyper-strife

this humble

likes to scree in its concave

where my forest-

cock raises its mossy
neck      its cleft-

suddenly so concerned about the world!

already searching

in the satellite-

dust      instead of here

& here in the ream-

ecology where we hurt the most

              the rack-master soaks
his feet in our vinepaste

& our sprouts huddle under
his translucent-

by spookfall

                       it’s a fern-dangle

our tartaric-

                    wailing in the finch-


Madison McCartha reading this excerpt from FREAKOPHONE WORLD

Madison McCartha is a black poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in DREGINALD, Full-Stop, The Journal, jubilat, Yalobusha Review, The Pinch and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and will be a 2018 Artist-in-Residence at The Millay Colony for the Arts.