The Repetition of the Wound

Khadijah Queen

Arezzo, 2023

Sanctifies the sacrifice in the bodies of saints,

makes holy the suffering, passes down

the conviction that pain is life, and God approves,

and we look to men as confirmation. They show us

how they bleed, open their arms, invite

repetition to reify the cuts, deify injury under the many

names of faith that say this life will end soon

enough, you can give up everything, hand over your labor

your body your children to whoever owns the money, freely,

your imagination your thought since even your soul

is God’s. And, after breath ceases, you will arrive

like magic in a heaven elsewhere, then—never now.

Now is for blood, poverty, denial, covering

life’s indignities in a shroud of wool tatters, hair shirts,

tear-soaked strands spilling over repentant shoulders,

tankard of oil ready for the messy work of healing. Divine.

Khadijah Queen is the author of six books, most recently Anodyne. With K. Ibura, she co-edited Infinite Constellations, a multi-genre anthology of speculative writing by authors from the global majority.
Originally published:
December 6, 2023

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