Anonymous, appalachia


The sunset hits the

Behemoths canvassing our
land, just so. A mountain range of

swel’d mulberry. Quarter past

seven. Sun’s heat
kissing your neck. Your fingers

wrapped ‘round my waist.
Heaven swallowing us whole.





I snuck through the weeds like an insect hunting pollen, nectar,

past rows of headstones beaten into earth by rain. I dug mulch, spreading

it through my fingers, until my knuckles hit rusty coffin.

You, precious one, were going to be perfect—stitched only from the best.

Blue tongue stolen from the librarian, ten years dead.

Tendrils of auburn hair snatched from a 16-year-old,

taken by yellow fever. Limbs from the rugged outdoorsmen,

drowned at sea. Each piece selected, dropped in my satchel,

harvested cells and membranes. Cross-stitches of humanity.


I blended you together. Sewed eyeballs 
into skull.


Unearthed fingernails darkening at the quick.

Precise details only the Devil really knows.


You yawned a moan and groped the operating table.


Tell me, what makes a man?
God bestowed Adam phalanges to pluck apples,

larynx to scream and sing. God gave Adam breath to

inhale the sweet scent of the earth.


But harder to witness is a soul.
Wars are fought over them. 
Laws written about them.

Tell me, what houses the soul?
Is it buried deep inside the ribcage,

or sheltered in the brain?
Is it more abstract—viscous, flowing,

permeating each cell like rays of sunlight

hitting skin?


Or does it even exist at all? Go to a barnyard,

watch the pigs bathed in shit.


You should thank me.


For giving you sentience,

living brains, beating heart,

pumping veins,
beautiful child.


The world won’t see you as I do.

Perfect in your twisted viscera.

Science born. A testament to

brilliance. The brilliance of my own



Creation itself is a miracle.


To them you’re cast-off. Sallow cadaver.
Sewn blackened teeth. 
Stench of formaldehyde.
Your head blue, and turning

like rainclouds.


With a heart

as pure and sweet                                                                                                        as blackberries by a










Ellen Downum

Ellen Shay Downum is a recent graduate of Northern Arizona University. She enjoys writing in all mediums of fiction, especially poetry. Presently, she is working on several chapbooks in the genre of persona poetry. She lives in the enchanting Flagstaff, Arizona.
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