The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is pleased to present the 2020 Ladies of Horror Fiction Award Nominees for Best Poetry Collection. The nominees are: Burials, Jessica Drake-ThomasA Collection of Dreamscapes, Christina SngA Complex Accident of Life, Jessica McHughCradleland of Parasites, Sara TantlingerInto the Forest and All the Way Through, Cynthia Pelayo Burials by Jessica…LOHF Award Nominees for Best Poetry Collection — Ladies of Horror Fiction
Did this month even happen? I’m not entirely convinced it did. I am, however, very tired and feeling that whole quarantine brain fog thing often. In better news, my forthcoming third collection of poetry, Cradleland of Parasites, is just about done! I’m on the revision/editing stage right now, which is my favorite of the writing stages! When I sent my publisher a proposal last year (I think in the fall) to see if he’d be interested in a poetry collection inspired by the Black Death, obviously I never thought I’d be researching bacteria, Medieval burial rituals, different ways plague spreads, and the earliest cases of biological warfare during a time of real pandemic, but here we are. The contract was signed, I was determined, and now I just hope it gathers some interest instead of great dismay and sadness. Then again, maybe now is the perfect time to step into the Cradleland of Parasites…
Cradleland of Parasites
You will walk in blood after the birth
and the very violence of such a thing,
how an origin shreds through membrane
how copper stains your lips and tongue,
will terrorize each atom in your body.
Sickness has always been here,
waiting in light and dark, hovering
in your air, and swimming through
each breath and drop of water,
did you ever think something as microscopic
as a germ could hurt this much?
You will take my hand when the air aches
when clouds have only acid lakes to absorb,
before your organs break down into dust
before life exits your body in an angry burst,
shut your eyes, tell me what bacterium curses you.
In the cradleland of parasites, beginnings
are always brutal, the way plague rips
venomous disease from contagion’s womb
spilling her gore across a vermillion wasteland,
does love still exist in this place where flesh
spills open and the maggots come to feast?
You will walk in blood after the birth,
taste spores sprouting through atmosphere,
remember the origin must always be violent
remember humankind will not survive this,
we will rebuild our cradleland from their bones.