Lady Jesus by Erica Dawson


I haven’t done it yet, but so?
I’ll leave you in Gethsemane’s
xystus, the beck and call of the cock

And falling wind that always ends
on hush. Go on. Do it. Deny
me, Peter. I’m a maenad shape-

shifting inside a sheltered cave.
And when the grave sky’s body farm
of gods and gutted animals

serves me, you’ll eat me, masticate
me with your tongue and save a bit
for later. When I asked for grace

the dust hid all the stars and not
a single thing happened. But now
I am the dust. The rivers choke

On my fine silt. The loess is
My body, all the pregnant air
the firmament of my thick skin.



Read TJ Jarrett’s interview with Erica Dawson in Women in Form



Erica Dawson’s second collection of poetry, The Small Blades Hurt, was published by Measure Press in January. Slate says, “She generates great energy by pulling at the impossible and sometimes pleasurable tangles of what is constant in us, and what is disposable in the world.” Her first collection, Big-Eyed Afraid, won the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and was published by Waywiser Press in 2007. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies. She is an assistant professor of English and Writing at University of Tampa.