2 poems | Thomas Hill



when the woman was not a corpse,

she was a corset, a bloody boa,

a dripping arrangement of jewels.

when the woman was not a news report

she was a show

was the light

the action

no camera

no candlelight-

like what you see?

say it out loud


when the woman was a woman

she was a fabulous flurry of ruby and glitter

a ball of sequin and lace spinning in several hot circles

when the woman was a boy,

she knew she was not.

had no way to say,

“this body must have been made for somebody else”


when the woman grew from boy to man

she began to fall apart,

it all happened in parts


when the man found out that the woman

and him had some of the same parts

he began to rip her apart,

it all happened in parts


before she was a corpse

she was a bloody scream

before she was a scream

she was a moan, a giggle

he, a hungry flirt


after him she became a story

a mythical monster

never no longer just a woman;

but what a spectacle, what a show





Scream. Holler. Shout.

Belt a song to the night

Yell. Bellow. Bark.

Harp the pain inside, outside

Cry. Plead. Bargain.

Beg the sky to grow itself a mouth and swallow you

Kick. Bite. Scratch.

Never again cut those nails

You may need those talons next time the shadows stalk you

Be as loud as a Whisper. Whimper. Muffle your sobs

Choke the gurgle of resistance bubbling from your throat

Strangle the plumes of curses flowering from your lips

Learn yourself a silent howl

A hushed resolution

A quieting rebuttal

A dormant tool

A still water

Baptize. Bury. Drown.

Watch them float in the sea of your obsidian

Watch them lag in the stream of your tears

Collect these throbbing

bodies if only

to notice how satisfied

they look.

Skin a gibbous

collection wrapped

around brined flesh

Look at how they

bump into each other

how they lobby like

pond of worms.

Clench. Squint. Squirm.

Know that relaxation is a luxury you forfeited


That this body is a home you gave away the keys to

Breathe. Heave. Sigh.

This is yours, not his.

Yours, not his.

Say it to yourself.

Begin to believe it.

This is pleasure, not pain.

Pleasure, not pain.


Thomas “Tom Cat” Hill is a professional rug cutter and poet from the Washington D.C area. He is an eighteen-year-old black queer activist and artist whose work seeks to crack open the narratives that often go unspoken. He was the 2014 DC Youth Grand Slam Champion, helping win his team the international title at Brave New Voices. He has performed at venues ranging from the Stage Theatre in South Africa, to Harvard University, to the Kennedy Center in his own city. Tom Cat seeks to make the personal, poetic and political. He currently attends St. John’s university as an English major with a minor in Creative Writing. He is a ferocious lover, performer, and fan of fantasy.

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