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blood

<p><i>If All the World and Love Were Young</i>. By Stephen Sexton. Penguin Books UK, 2019. 125pp. PB, £9.99.

Lived Experience

Walt Whitman read of his brother George’s injury at the Battle of Fredericksburg in the New York Herald on December 16, 1862. Fredericksburg was but one battle among many, though it lasted five days, and nearly ten thousand Union army soldiers were injured there. Each day, another long list. Whitman left New York hurriedly to find his brother, knowing that many of his readers scanned the same paper each day for the same worrisome reason. Many scanned every paper, everywhere in the country. To be alive in that moment—not just to be a person named Walt Whitman, but to be a person at all—was to know the public, social, and emotional burden of war.

Body Of

My mother, teaching me how to protect my body: 
“When a man touches you here, yell I am a body
that will bear a child.” How was I,
a child, to understand that as the sanctity
of my body. How was I to know to say, 
the body without that potential is also whole

The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound

His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;
amid danger, there is also beauty. When he whips me with the riding crop
of his tongue, I curl into the earth’s first question: To desire what exactly?
                                                                                                      He has nothing

Fosters Freeze

For a genealogy assignment I took a blood test. I found out I am O positive. My mom is A negative, which seems very fitting. My dad is B positive. This alone would normally frighten me. Needles should freeze in hell. I told my dad I was scared but wouldn’t cry when I got pricked. He laughed, pinched my arm. Oh, positive. After this, many things became apparent.