Photo by Rebecca Bernstein
Kameryn Alexa Carter is a black poet and assemblagist from Chicago. She is a founding co-editor of Emergent Literary, a journal for black and brown artists, and has an MA from the University of Chicago. Her work has appeared in 68to05, Bennington Review, Letters Journal, Puerto del Sol, Voicemail Poems, and elsewhere. Follow Kameryn on her website and on Instagram and Twitter.
Self Portrait as Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy in the Style of Gentileschi
by Kameryn Alexa Carter
I retired the Mary Magdalene around my neck
to a quaint embroidered box. The pressure of her
devotion was too much to carry. I have trouble
leveling and require a soft reminder of the double
pole inside me. Seeking a refuge for my soul, where
do I go but to the State Street preacher, who proclaims
the word into a rattling portable microphone, flanked
by Macy’s mothers shoving along their Dyson strollers.
My phone is dead, so I ask if by chance he has the time,
to which he replies now. Jesus is coming, been came,
come back! Supposedly, the Son knows me by name.
Supposedly if I call, he’ll answer. In the morning,
having pushed on through the acute trouble,
I acknowledge how far my mind has come
from turning against and against itself. It’s too hot
for anything but gazpacho. The trick is day
old bread. Trouble don’t last. Not always.
Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.