Gabrielle Spear

Abecedarian Beginning with Crucifixion and Ending with Rebellion


Afterwards, there was no myrrh or linen-cloth. Only wild dogs gorging from his pierced side,
beasts anointing flesh in communion with each other. Later, anxious pilgrims
clasp the shape of his absence like children to their mother’s thigh,
drag longing from their heart’s sepulcher. In Rwanda, in the after, famished beasts
elated by their rain-bloated feast, stole bodies from machete-crucifixion.
Find the place where the Present-Absentee rot and you’ll find, too, a mass
grave. Echoes of his eyes, his limbs, his jaw,
his hands reaching towards heaven. Empire culls his fragments from ransacked lands,
interning his shadow in museums, assurance that no one again question its
jurisdiction. In the Gikongoro hills, there are whispers of mothers who take bone as
keepsake, rescue femur from the oblivion of state
ledger if only for a chance to bury an echo of what is theirs,
mourn without directive or fee,
nestle stray bone into dirt,
orchestrating a funeral of their own making while
pouring sorghum beneath the
quiet of the banana tree. Name a more
rancid trickery than the capital a
state gleans from resurrecting
their captive to build a museum on the third day.
Under the cover of darkness, the Galilean mother scoured Golgotha’s
violations in search of the one called King.
Wading through agony and weeks of
xylotomous bones, she buried a potential remnant of her once-womb in her chest,
yolk repossessed to its origins. Name a greater
zealot than a mother, secret in clenched hand, prostrate before a shallow grave.




Gabrielle Spear is a queer, chronically ill poet and educator raised in northwest Arkansas and based in Baltimore. She has been named a Brooklyn Poets Fellow and an inaugural member of Catapult’s 12-Month Poetry Generator. Her work is most recently featured in Catapult, Protean Magazine, Hobart After Dark, Cotton Xenomorph, and the anthology A Land With a People: Palestinians and Jews Confront Zionism.