Diseases of American Slavery (the EARTH) – Michigan Quarterly Review

Diseases of American Slavery (the EARTH)

Published in Issue 62.4: Fall 2023

Fall 2023 | Rachel Nelson Reads "Diseases of American Slavery (the earth)" MQR Sound

Rachel Nelson reads "Diseases of American Slavery (the earth)" for MQR's Fall 2023 issue "Transversions". Read the text for this piece on the MQR website.
The earth will try to reclaim you.
	It will begin with moss 

				— its fuzzy teeth
		that soften the side of stone	as if making a meal
				of hard bread.

Green unfurled on your skin
       like a rash of tobacco covers a field.
				—A softly splotched
					      compass slying
				     across maple trees —

The white spots 	lifted on limbs
      like an answer 
to a question		about whether God
      wants you back. 

				—Were you meant to be vibrant?
             A verdant net		cast over your greening limbs?
				Or were you meant to be plain
	as a field of tassels	announcing a bounty
             someone else will call heaven sent?

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.

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