We’re holding onto summer with a flashback to our Summer Issue 55:4, which was stacked with amazing contributors. Among them was Beasa Dukes, author of “The Heart-Hum.” Read the first of the three sections of this amazing piece below, and check out our interview with her here. Weren’t able to pick up a copy of the issue during the summer? No worries, you can order one here!
By Beasa Dukes
I’m deadweight under some monkey bars watching the moon burn a dulled white knot in the dark blue sky. Snow is all up in my ass crack and I ain’t got no shoes. I wiggle my fingers a little bit, tryna remember where they at. There is a golden rat sitting on my chest. He is chewing a hole into me. He gnaws and gnaws—his claws pinching my nipples, his teeth crunching up bone. And I let him do his thing. Gargantuan spider swinging in the moonlight bares her teeth at me, hissing. I let her spin and spin and spin, until she is also resting on me. She smacks the rat from my chest. He lands somewhere, squealing and clicking his bloodied teeth. I tell her yo, don’t be treatin’ my boy like dat. I swallow a lump of blood. I was letting him kill me. I tell her with her big fuzzy head twisting into a broad-jawed woman with dark-brown skin. Her fat abdomen into a trash-bin trench coat, type of trench-coat you rescue from the sidewalk garbage pile fit with holes and that sweet rot stink. She still had pincers and shit. But her honeycomb eyes was warm, like my fire-mouthed granma who died tussling the sun. I don’t panic. I sigh, air let loose in a hot cloud. And then I sleep. And then she’s wrapping me in a hush and hum and lullaby.
Beasa Dukes is a twenty-three-year-old, black, bi-gendered person. They graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, and are currently part of the West Virginia Wesleyan College MFA Creative Writing Program.