Published in Issue 62.4: Fall 2023
Fall 2023 | Rachel Nelson Reads "Diseases of American Slavery (the desire)" – MQR Sound
The desire to find your mother’s hand must be cured A slow day under the sack is a contagion The desire not to melt into fields is an affliction The wish to be still as the sky unfolds into pink dusk means your life is in danger The desire to find your mother’s hand The wish not to be enslaved is evidence of pathology Call these diseases natural as a bird wanting to sun itself south Illness a fruiting a manifestation of this condition on your father’s back on your child’s back What is the cure for that?
Rachel Nelson is a Cave Canem fellow and a graduate of the University of Michigan’s MFA program, where she won a Hopwood Prize for playwriting. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, the museum of americana, Muzzle Magazine, Pleiades, Thrush, and elsewhere. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.