Cheyenne L. Black


Listen to the audio version.

"Physical pain does not simply resist
language but actively destroys it."

    —Elaine Scarry

In me, there is an upwind sandbar, a spit,
        jutting out from the island's land,
                 with lapping, waving,

pain dissolving my feet to silt.
         Worn down shores of the working me that once remembered
                 the right words, the me that I was before the pain

eroded the inside of my skin. Before I
        moved sandcastles from one beach to another
                 with counted spoons

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Do you mind if we pray
For you? Lay on hands, too?
If you drink the milk of four young
Thai coconuts, you'll stand right up.

What happened? Can you still—
You know? Well, can you?
Seriously, it's not that bad
Right? I mean, there are ramps
Everywhere. Tell me
This won't happen to me,
That it was an accident and I am safe—
Your wife    looks burdened    because that must be
The worst thing that ever might happen
                        to me. Or my       wife. Right?


Cheyenne L. Black serves as the editor-in-chief for Hayden's Ferry Review at Arizona State University where she is an MFA candidate and former Virginia G. Piper global fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will be Shelter and In Sight: An Ekphrastic Collaboration, as well as the journals 45th Parallel, Bacopa Review, and New Mobility, among others. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.