Poetry by Bianca Braswell
“For men to be instructed they must be seduced by aesthetics, but how can anyone render the image of death agreeable?”
-The Anatomical Venus, Joanna Ebstein
“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”
- Frankenstein, Mary Shelley,
I. Consider the velvet
Soft as an upturned throat,
the pearls resting like laurel
What we mean to say is all manner of treasury
is a blade’s length away from merciful.
What we wanted:
What they wanted:
apple skin mouths
that never wilted.
II. All fixture & wax & unwelcome hands.
They named us Venus. Threaded our skulls
With flaxen plaits, our faces bathed
in mouthpink light carved
into what one might call ecstasy & another
What object is not somehow woman?
They named us Venus
to know what it was like to kill
Don’t they know the sun will soon set
on their empires? Don’t they know the pillaged
have grown weary of being both altar and sacrifice,
both enemy and ornament?
All this time we played pretty vivisection
& yes, there were no more bodies
to be pilfered, to be robbed from cemeteries
the organs puckering and bloated
like the salt swollen fingers of those fine
students who watched us.
The eyes of their patient glossy
As the tongue of a day dead dog.
III. Venus (fly)
A good girl only dies
once. They say
there are many ways to skin
an apple. Meat white as snowdrop petals
or a lost finger.
We were no one’s mother-
A mother remembers her voice
before it empties.
Venus fly trapped?
They forget themselves. Guilt
is a favorite curtain. Without rot
there is nothing to hide.
IV. We waited like good players
in their theaters. Bodies splayed
so perfectly in our almost death,
which as we all have been told
is, of course, the mother of beauty.
V. All night long we were watching.
The lone student returning
with heart long candle as if we needed it.
As if the dusty sheets of dark were not
home to us.
All night long we witnessed his bland cheeked
All night long the candle burning.
His eyes a few flickerings away from sleep.
The bright light of mars whispering through
the slats in the window.
Our hands inching ever nearer
to the scalpel.
Bianca Braswell is a Cuban-American poet currently enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she is studying English and Film studies. She has previously been published in Stark poetry journal and has work forthcoming in Mineral Lit Magazine. She is currently working on her first poetry collection.