© Terrible Orange Review 2019. 

Michal "MJ" Jones

 

1998

it’s 1998 and body parts grow

from bean sprouts.
i plant one deep inside myself
and hydrate it in Sunday afternoon bathwaters,
praying extensions outside my self
will formulate, Big Bang, sprout up,
finally make me,
make sense.

 

the caterpillar i grow in
an emptied Welch’s bottle never leaves its chrysalis,
caught between phases.
my daddy leaves us, moves out and on.
and the appendage does not grow,
stays mythical, a mystery.

 

and just like that -
i do not believe in magic.

 

Three Hearts

Retreat to these waters where it’s okay to be a pretty nigga.

Ritual: hit the Gods Gift and let smoke meld with rising steam,

decide between 00s Anthony and 90s Mariah (Mariah wins),

piss baby oil into tub and watch lava lamp bubbles coagulate,

dash of Rosemary for good measure. Bow low slowly, gripping

basin edges in a squat, feel eyelids droop closed and sing-song voice

cascade off of  tiles laden with condensation, sway unashamed

to love ballads. Press thumbs into soles of scaly feet, pumice the

flakes, massage suction cups in crooks of limbs, wash skunk from

the arm’s trenches, sink lower, the neck’s nape on cool porcelain,

licorice locs       floating tentacles. Crack a clandestine grin, take

pleasure as the strangest creature in the sea, born of 3 hearts.

Rinse & repeat, rinse & retreat to the cave.

michal "mj" jones is a black queer, and non-binary  writer, activist, educator, and musician living in Oakland, CA. a curious interdisciplinary writer of essay, poetry and fiction, mj's work has been featured at Foglifter PressEveryday FeminismBlack Girl DangerousThe Body Is Not An Apology, and Wear Your Voice Magazine. mj is a recipient of the 2019 San Francisco Writer's Grotto Fellowship, is a VONA Fellow and a 2-time selected participant of the Kearny Street Workshop's Interdisciplinary Writers Lab.