Catherine E. Bailey
On the night I gave you up,
Death came to my bedroom.
He pulled back the hood of his
long black robe and grinned
as he unzipped his trousers.
His skin flickered blue
in the volleys of light
that ejected like coughs
from the brilliant sign next door.
Their stutters syncopated
with the galloping vein
in the side of his terrible neck.
He wore the words I wrote
to you around his finger
like platinum. He slid them off
and there they gaped on my
dresser like impotent mouths.
I did not fear Death. Come, I said.
Come closer. I unfolded my body
and showed all the shadows
and gave Death my paper-thin throat.
All the while I thought of you, the pallor
of intimacy thrown down the stairs,
and how we are forgotten.
I thought of the chair we
admired in London and the
daughters we will never name.
Through Death’s assault I was
tranquil, a perfect human sacrifice.
Death ate my muscles, my chaos and
strength, and the words on my dresser
This is the way a soul is remade.
This is the truth of forgiveness.
This is the cyclical feasting of blood
and this is our violent surrender.
Catherine E. Bailey is currently a Ph.D. student in English at Western Michigan University, where she is focusing on contemporary literature, cultural studies, and gender studies. Last year, she completed her Master’s degree at the University of Rochester. She is originally from Seattle, though she has also lived in Switzerland and Japan. She writes in a variety of genres, and she is also a visual artist.
Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry South, Line Zero, Femspec, Scythe, Broad!: A Gentlelady’s Magazine, and Lingerpost, in addition to Bricolage and Logos (the student arts journals of the University of Washington and the University of Rochester, respectively). One of her pieces that appeared in Line Zero was honored as an Editor’s Choice. A play she wrote, based on interviews with over 50 women from three different countries, was produced at the University of Rochester’s 13th Annual Festival of One-Acts in 2011. She has also published articles and book/film reviews in Yes! Magazine, Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, Worldchanging, and Three Percent.
Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 16-year-old internationally award-winning photographer and artist who has won first places with National Geographic, The World Photography Organisation, Nature’s Best Photography, Papworth Trust, Mencap, The Woodland Trust and Postal Heritage. Her photography has been published in The Telegraph, The Guardian, the BBC News website and on the cover of books and magazines in the United states and Canada. Her art is globally exhibited, having shown work in London, Paris, Indonesia, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia and The Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition (2011) amongst many other locations. She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run. See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.