Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

Black as Thin Body

by Marlin Figgins

                I don’t want to have to be brave
I’m only dark when split open
                look at my skin it stinks
I’ve washed it for days and the dark
                won’t stop eating at the washcloth
How can I stand before a crowd and
                tell them not to fear my outside
when all I’m told is to fear the hungry
                doing what they must when
my insides are the same hunger chained
                to a rickety frame once our goat
broke the stake keeping him from the wolves
                or whatever monster it is that eats goat
leaves not even a tuft of fur but only a boy
                lying in a mud that cannot be washed away
a boy running from water knowing he’ll choose
                to drown if given the option
some appetites can never be forgiven I’m only
                bathing in the river between me
and the livestock I’m afraid of what might be
                left behind should they come to drink
I’m dirty from never bathing after that thought
                the mud has hardened my desires
I’ve withered now and wonder what will break
                rather when / what kind of flower
will be left in my place will I be brave
                when it comes will I know


Marlin is a poet from Detroit, Michigan. He is currently a student at the University of Chicago.

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