top of page


Not the neck’s calligraphy

or the blade’s singular desire

to divide spirit from flesh,

but Baba, bless this animal

for offering up its blood

and delivering a bounty

of satisfaction, for granting

the hands of the shepherd

her greatest ability to baptize

a nation, to keep bellies full

until hunger comes to my altar


Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones

I have broken may rejoice. May the soil open

its merciful jaw to consume the beast’s bones as it will consume me one day.

Behold: I was shaped in iniquity and in sin

did my mother conceive me.

Baba, let me rest as this beast rests:

eyes glazed over looking for a heaven

cruel enough to say ‘open’.

Deliver me

from bloodguiltiness, O Baba, God my salvation

and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

As I bring down the blade again

let this beast’s teeth






flesh—ignorant flesh—be a reprieve

from death. Either I am

a murder or the field between

grace and mercy.

Let every beast

know its purpose, to lay its neck

upon a slab of surrender.

Let every blade I wield become a fang

of light. May the world always be

so simple and kneel at my command. Amen.


I.S. JONES is an American-Nigerian writer, educator, and music journalist from Southern California by way of New York. She is a fellow with BOAAT Writer's Retreat, Callaloo, and is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole. In 2016, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the Assistant Editor at Voicemail Poetry and Chaparral as well as the Managing Editor of Dead End Hip Hop. Her works have appeared in The Harpoon Review, The Blueshift Journal, SunDog Lit, Matador Review, great weather for MEDIA, Anomalous Press, The Shade Journal, the Black Voices Series with Puerto Del Sol, forthcoming in Nat.Brut Neuro-divergent women folio and elsewhere. She received her MFA in 2016. I.S. is running for Poet Laureate of the Moon.


bottom of page