Friday, February 6, 2015

Poem of the Week: Bettina Judd

December 1845

Lucy didn’t scream like most.  Though sometimes she 
would moan--deep,   long   and   overdue.     I’d wake 
thinking death. It’s her, knees curled under, head face 
down, her body trying to move out of itself. Anarcha 
and  I  take  turns  wiping  her  head  with  cool  rags, 
warming her feet with our hands, singing to her. She 
would join  in  a  voice  so  low  it wasn't like she was 
singing at all but whispering a prayer that hushed on 
long after we finished.

Doctor spent a lot of time with Lucy. He would stand 
at the foot of her bed looking. Not mad    just like he 
had a whole lot of questions and wanted answers from 
her. I had questions too, so I looked to Anarcha.

She thought a long time.   Finally said, She too sick to 
die.  We too well to be living.

From Patient (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). Used with permission.
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths. 

Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern California, Bettina Judd is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and performer. She is an alumna of Spelman College and the University of Maryland, and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at the College of William and Mary. She has received fellowships from the Five Colleges, The Vermont Studio Center, and the University of Maryland. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Torch, Mythium, Meridians, and other journals and anthologies. Most recently, her collection of poems titled Patient. won the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Book Prize and was published in November of 2014. As a singer, she has been invited to perform for audiences in Vancouver, Washington DC, Atlanta, Paris, New York, and Mumbai.


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