Three Dark Poems by Catherine Zickgraf: “Princes of Power from the Air,” “Hum,” and “Sepulture” 

"The Torment of Saint Anthony" attributed to Michelangelo Buonarrotti circa 1487-88
“The Torment of Saint Anthony” attributed to Michelangelo Buonarrotti circa 1487-88

Princes of Power from the Air

Deities hissing to feast on our lives, 
flogging trees to destruct the horizon, 
and pacing the earth to pierce its green, 
they hollow out boxes to hold our bodies. 
Though powerful enough to tear out souls, 
they can’t put us back in our corpses whole. 


One day he showed up humming in her          
head every time she tied her shoes. She  
woke up once on her roof ledge, fingers 
spread and wired blue to umbrella tines.  
Even miles away, the voice still preyed 
upon her. So she hid under his stairway, 
hunted by slithering soundwaves, tying  
her throat to seek peace in dead silence. 


Our sister is wrapped up in burlap, 
so we’re ready to dump her in the hole 
and then stoke her soul into bowels as fuel 
for the flame that comes to subsume her alive. 
Though she pledged to wallow in pain and shame, 
repenting from the suffering she caused by her birth, 
God decreed she deserves to be burned in the earth. 
Regardless of whether she worshiped or obeyed 
or gave away the bones of her unnamed young, 
irrelevant her plea to be loved by her family, 
she’s wrapped in burlap, ready for Hell. 

Two lifetimes ago, Catherine performed her poetry in Madrid. Now her main jobs are to write and hang out with her family. Her work has appeared in Pank, Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Grief Diaries. Her chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press. Find her on twitter @czickgraf. Watch/read more at 

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