Bess Whitby: Alternative Prayer

national poetry month has been such a great time to celebrate the poetic power within our creative community. if you're just now joining us, be sure to check out this month's archives and fall in love with some poems! 

which brings us to our recommended reading today: Alternative Prayer, penned by one of our brilliant spiderweb poets (and occasional editor extraordinaire!) Bess Whitby. Bess also leaves us with this reflective & magical writing challenge: write a poem that also doubles as a taboo prayer.

Alternative Prayer

May the center of me
be thorny and dead.
May my insides go sharp
and full of spines.
Give me acrid things
from the earth—strong
tea of parsley, black
cohosh root.
They say the body
is magic, is holy.
Give my body
danger: boulders
to push. Tons
to bear. Curse the softness
of belly. In the sick, swollen
spring, let the fruit rot early.
Let me smudge weeks
in red. Make him barren
too. Make us dream
of deserts and wasting,
no water for days,
altars of ash.
Make me
an emptiness.

 

Bess is a writer, cellist, and long-time Spiderwebber living in Denton. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of North Texas and currently works as the marketing manager for UNT Press. Bess has helped organize Spiderweb shows for almost five years. Her work has appeared in dozens of the Salon's zines.

 Bess Whitby setting up for spiderweb salon's first electronic experiment show | photo by courtney marie | 2014

Bess Whitby setting up for spiderweb salon's first electronic experiment show | photo by courtney marie | 2014