by Nicholas Russell
After the untreated men of Tuskegee
So gravity pulls the blood down with the rain.
So fissures crack in lightning streaks inside you
beneath an embrace of thunder. So salt presses through the skin,
ossifies, seasons, sterilizes until it is doused with fire.
So we come to press our hands on the glass
and we press to break.
Results are taken. It takes a repetition of breaking
to make things stronger. I am given a needle
placed inside a box of matches, am told to strike
quietly now that everyone is gone. Hushed lips,
sewn with care. So this is the experiment.
So the next collision will obliterate everything.
So things don’t get stronger necessarily.
Nicholas Russell's non-fiction work has appeared in the Believer, the Rumpus, and Little White Lies, among other publications. His short fiction has appeared in Emory University's Lullwater Review and as a finalist in Columbia Journal's 2019 Fiction Contest. He is also part of the Writers Block, an independent bookstore and literary hub in Las Vegas.