Native Land

by Sage Ravenwood

There was the flyswatter squashed
———to window wasp this morning.
Now I watch a different one hover page rasping
close to my lap saddled book.
A floating storm with invisible wings.
Menacing giant ant body with a stinger,
———flying porch ceiling high between the panels.
———and disappearing from-
Eyes pleading for the company.
Sting me please. Leave grotesque bites.
I deserve more from this deadpan soul, not less.
Hollow the pain from spirit to skin.
Give my ugliness form, a reason to exist.
Remind me how i once wanted to carve
———my face with a paring knife.
Holy the unholy beauty vain men seek.
Come back, we’re not finished.
My eyes bore a hole after the disappearing wasp.
Wait for the flying raptor parade;
I pretend to hear larvae crawling around a nest,
———skittering like rodents in the attic.
I want to get a ladder.
Glue my ear to where the wasp disappeared
———seeking the truth of a thing deaf ears can’t hear.
Feel thin long legs drag my ear canal;
Pulp packing my eardrum.
Paper ash saliva honeycombed.
A mask built from bits of eyes, nose, and mouth,
———with high cheekbone ledges.
A gray paper-thin ghost of a head.
It’s never quiet up in here now.
My tongue swollen silent.
No need for a body to lie still among dead flies.
In this belonging, I’m home.


[Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi, and her one-eyed cat Max. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in Glass Poetry, The Temz Review, Contrary, trampset, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, Pioneertown Literary, Grain Magazine, Sundress Press anthology The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry, The Rumpus and others. Forthcoming from Massachusetts Review, and Lit Quarterly.]