One Hell

Mary-Alice Daniel

One for busybodies

One for frying chickens alive

One for crying aloud in the night

     at the beginning of night watches

One for eating sweets with rice

One for butterfly collecting

god, what an evil hobby

gassing living things to itemize

     in your hovel in England

One borderline

One-bedroom disaster mansion

One black hole & bad experiment

One romantic Wow! after another

One forest becomes abundantly fell

One millihelen, the quantum of beauty

     required to launch One warship

One snatches us from fairgrounds, wriggling, out . . .

One sifts you into aerosol . . .

     a spray of rose oil pretty as powder

     adrift within waves of radio water

One downgrades bodies to zero status

     & wakes up whistling Dixie

One is a killing jar—

     even calls itself that

One of One desire—

     eat every animal

     in God’s Good Claymation

From Mass for Shut-Ins, by Mary-Alice Daniel. Published by Yale University Press in March 2023. Copyright © 2023 by Mary-Alice Daniel. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.

Mary-Alice Daniel was born in northern Nigeria and raised in England and Tennessee. She holds a PhD from the University of Southern California. She is the author of A Coastline Is an Immeasurable Thing: A Memoir Across Three Continents.
Originally published:
March 15, 2023


10 Ways Ms., Sassy, and Jezebel Changed Your Life!

How contradiction drove fifty years of feminist media
Maggie Doherty

How Emily Wilson Reimagined Homer

Her boldly innovative translation of the Iliad is an epic for our time
Emily Greenwood

In the Shallows

Why do public intellectuals condescend to their readers?
Becca Rothfeld


New perspectives, enduring writing. Join a conversation 200 years in the making. Subscribe to our print journal and receive four beautiful issues per year.