Today we revisit work by 2018 The Laurence Goldstein Prize winner Jasmine V. Bailey. Bailey’s poem “This is Not a Poem About Leah, Let Alone Zilpah and Bilhah,” appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of MQR and was selected by Raymond McDaniel. It’s impossible to disregard the authority
“If the voices I hear outside / my window cease I am kept / awake by a deeper silence / I cannot touch any more / than a woodpecker can withstand / its need for the sake of what / it receives”
When they finally arrived in San Ysidro, California, she climbed out of the coyote’s trunk, where she was reborn, right there in the corner of a McDonald’s parking lot, parallel to the gargantuan 405 freeway, which looked that night like the tentacles of an electric octopus—bursts of white headlights and red taillights, swirling and whizzing by, right across the chain-link fence.
Death might as well be my father’s pen name indecent hours ragged on his breath and I of course am his for knowing the night is no place for the softness even of an eye
When was the first time you saw the sun? Not its winding tendrils, or its luminous glow, or even its radiant essence shining down upon your skin. Not its glare, or its intensity, or its resplendent effulgence—but it.