Published in Issue 62.4: Fall 2023
Fall 2023 | Rachel Nelson Reads "Diseases of American Slavery (the earth)" – MQR Sound
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.