Bloodwater Parish: poems by Arden Eli Hill. Number 6 in Volume 5 of our Editor’s Series.
Publication: June 21, 2022 [100 copies]
Cover image by Patty Paine, from Wrecked Archive.
Despite being from Lafayette, Louisiana, Arden Eli Hill has never wrestled an alligator, only a kangaroo. Arden holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a specialization in Women and Gender Studies, and an MFA from Hollins University. Arden has published in places such as Willow Springs, Western Humanities Review, Kaleidoscope, Wordgathering, Breath and Shadow, the Lambda Literary award-winning anthology First Person Queer, its sequel, Second Person Queer, Hip Mama, The Wellesley Review, Strange Horizons, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and forthcoming from Tupelo Quarterly and the anthology Trans Bodies Trans Selves. In case you are still thinking about the kangaroo, Arden won.
Sails flashing to the wind like weapons,/ sharks following the moans the fever
and the dying;/ horror the corposant and compass rose.
Blood is its own magnet. Our teeth throb against
the pressure in our heads that wants to pull us
along familiar currents. We turn to new routes.
Following the wake, we bury the dead within us.
The salt water would if we didn’t. And aren’t their
bodies reaching out their desperate arms? Flesh calls us
from West African shores. From the middle of the passage,
we are lured
and we trail behind the sterns of corpse-makers.
We reach harbor.
We have brought the dead to you
and as we swim between the ships in Boston, you point
to our pale, swollen shapes, the cut of dorsal in
rivers where now you do not bathe. We break the surface—
our bellies full, our eyes curious to see who grew us.