Variola Fever by Eliza Kelley

 

Variola Fever 
There are ghosts
in this book. Catachretic tumbleweeds. Itazipcho
asking for just one more blanket
we cannot know carries invisible armies
traveling the great muddy river. 
Incandescent moths linger
above the place where a woman hides one shivering
child, whose vision might save ancestors
yet to be born. Christ dancer. Sclerotic 
clay paint, skin covered in white
chalk, standing alone on the long black road. No
food house for the dead, only gray Sumac
thorns, Shasta daisies, Magnolia petals 
underfoot, trace Aconite, Belemnite
knife-maker ribbons flapping desperate prayers
to holy wind: Ptesanwi names the last child
light-in-the-eyes, where-the-whole-universe-dwells.
 
Eliza Kelley 

                                                                                                                                        Photo by J.S. MacLean
 

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