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  • Scattered & Covered & SmotheredA Southern Gothic Sonnet*
  • Tiana Clark (bio)

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

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



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