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billie holiday, handcuffed to her deathbed

By Sacha Marvin Hodges

after Cornelius Eady 

I have a fear
so metal
it makes traffic

small shushed pillowed combustion
a day on idle         a day well run
I wear      my surprise to bed

I do the trust fall
with myself just to see
if I’m still                 looking

like a dot plucked from the eye of a fabled
needle they said I checked in with
a fistful of nation & scalp

I reckoned all folks distilled themselves
I put the sky through a strainer
only took the meat of a cloud

& they took my purse
heaven as contraband
heaven       on holiday

skin a lovely shade of doom
& there’s no alphabet for that
I am a bark-hued cashmere

I closed my eyes to Louis
and woke promised to concrete,
wet nook, book & knuckle

I’ve taken a flightless thing
slit its underarms every third of an inch
I called it wings

I go nowhere the wind has already been
I am filled with poppies & foreign water
God, the slumlord of my brief and rented now

cream room like a carriage, lace draping
in the everywhere         the spill of me  sopped up saying
yes, there are holes in me

but I am still beautiful
yes, I cut them myself
wouldn’t you like to watch




Listen as Sacha Marvin Hodges readsbillie holiday, handcuffed to her deathbed.”

Added: Wednesday, October 18, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Sacha Marvin Hodges
Photo by Ashley Pooler.

Sacha Marvin Hodges is a writer, director, planner and architectural designer from Virginia. A Callaloo and Cave Canem fellow, Hodges has work published in EcoTheo Collective and The Adroit Journal, and has been a "Best Poet" recipient for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, as well as head coach for the premier UVA collegiate slam team. Hodges has been a finalist or semi-finalist for prizes in poetry and screenwriting at The Georgia Review, Indiana Review, Frontier Poetry, Black Lawrence Press, Glass Poetry, Two Sylvias Press, the Vail Film Festival and the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop. Hodges currently resides on occupied Chesepian land in Southeastern Virginia.

Image Description: Sacha Marvin Hodges faces forward in front of a pink metal door with short buzzed hair and beard. Hodges wears a small hoop earring and a floral grey and pink short-sleeved button-up shirt with a white tank top underneath. The sun shines brightly.

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