From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Georgia Clay Blood

I marched through sanctified fields

those fields

in Georgia

 

Found where my family was

tortured

 

Vultures with scripture for claws

circled

above me

 

Wild boars with Confederate uniforms for tusks

stomped

around me

 

I stuffed my pious fingers in Georgia clay

and fed it my rage

acknowledged

their agony – their grief

my agony – my grief

 

Georgia soil

Georgia mud

water so sludgy

dense

with misery

Georgia clay

so crimson, wicked, bloody

and that blood

soaked

oh yes–it soaked

seeped

steeped

 

into my pores

into the spongy marrow of my bones

 

But it was like coming home

because

I was born with Georgia clay blood

 

Peaches growing here are

sweet

with the amniotic remnants of my

forebears

 

Mine

 

You cannot harm me

 

I was born inside the sharp licks of fire

I have waking nightmares, memories

of torment that isn’t mine

 

You cannot harm me

 

Because there have been times in my life

when I can

feel

the slits in my skin after the whistle of the whip

I can

feel

the wretched Georgia sun

maul

my face

collapse

across my back

 

I feel the sun

even when I’m inside, especially when I’m inside

 

There have been times when I

wake, screaming

the name of a child I’ve never met

 

We’ve never met

and yet

I am here, existing, with them

 

I stuffed my pious fingers in Georgia clay

and I fed it my sorrow

acknowledged

their agony – their grief

my agony – my grief

 

I poured libations (whiskey that burned, charred the soles of my feet)

 

Their blood/my blood

Their blood/my blood

 

Blood so red no one notices it’s black

Skin so Black no one notices it’s divine

 

Beatrice Winifred Iker

Beatrice Winifred Iker

Beatrice grew up in the picturesque (and undoubtedly haunted) valley of the Great Smoky Mountains. As a child, she spent an incalculable time in her grandmother’s living room staring at the unending ridges and peaks; eventually, she decided to write about this bewitching place. A great passion of hers is genealogy and ancestry. As a result, much of her writing lives in the southern gothic genre where she grapples with the South’s history, which is both terrifying and entrancing. Her stories feature characters and themes in the Black, neurodiverse, and queer communities. Her work is published or forthcoming from FIYAH Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, Air and Nothingness Press, and others. Additionally, she will be in the Death in the Mouth horror anthology (Fall 2022). Beatrice lives in New England where she enjoys the snow with her husband, dog, two cats, and robust tarot deck collection.