- Scattered & Covered & SmotheredA Southern Gothic Sonnet*
I am pissing in a bathroom with pictures of pickaninny's lil' po' blacks with lil' squiggles for hair squirming in a line for the outhouse this pic is suppose to be funny to someone because the South is absurd near tragicomic all I knew how to write was my violence I didn't know it was possible to transcend it my soft slavebreaker can you laugh during a moment of grace I am starting to swerve into the bleak turn as the car rolls into a ditch there's always a black hearse a dark forest at the fringe with Co'cola there's always some hell-bent Misfit drenched with dialect I am not the racist grandmother but I might be the blood splattered cat rubbing my glands against the shins of my new master spraying my niggerish scent asking myself what is a good man why yo daddy so hard to find why you're one of my babies she said she ain't too proud to beg but anyone can be redeemed by a bullet I wipe myself & flush the toilet [End Page 41]
TIANA CLARK is the author of Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Her first full-length debut collection, I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018) won the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Clark is the winner of the 2017 Furious Flower's Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She was recently the 2017–2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere. Clark is the recipient of scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Frost Place Poetry Seminar. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
* after and for Flannery O'Connor