Your Posthumous Dress | Amy Pence

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 Amy Pence is the author of the hybrid book [It] Incandescent, winner of the International Eyelands Award, and the poetry collections Armor, AmourThe Decadent Lovely, and the chapbook Skin’s Dark Night. Pence’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including Menacing Hedge, The Birmingham Poetry ReviewThe Oxford American, Western Humanities ReviewDenver Quarterly, Poets & Writers and The Writer’s Chronicle. She lives in Atlanta. Find more at



Childhood, Dismantled

A hirsute giant. Maggots breeding. The mind, revealed, offers its curiosities. Among the lost objects: a happy childhood, a locket with copper-penny hair, your genitalia. I watched you knit the old story, shrinking your collusion to a nub. How like the Salvador Dalἱ, dreaming yourself genderless.

Yes, you fabricated your idols. The abject body— fingerless, numberless in the creeping dawn. A hologram of things we’ll remember: ghost walkers, brittle with beauty, a vanishing bestiary, the stitched violence we’ve grown to love.

Give them space to be themselves really meant give me space to be myself. We entered Code Red—the mother’s absence vaporized being. You put on her death like a hair coat. All the erotic implications lost. Before No. 13, who would have thought we’d aim the gun at ourselves?