“April” and “Gods and Nobodies” by Jade Rivers


For Federica Santini

All the bastards and their supermarket faces
you in your black dress,
coughing birth and purple daisies
choking unrelenting dead.

The radio tries to be a mother.
The microwave tries to be a wife.

You lower sailing lids, kiss

soldier lips, tear from inside-out, pour cesarean
orchids into your grandmother’s
grandmother’s vase. Dinner is made

and my finger prayers diddle breakfast. 
I lace my stomach-shoes, trip on birth and baby’s
breath, trip on fragments and city feet.

I washed your toes in yester-bath.
I watched your kneecaps bruise
when we said hello; when we reached for milk
like funeral breath, touched
fingers and parted hands.

People buy broccoli and vitamins. Static
beats the sky. Morning arrives
and I shovel
birds like snow, humming, working
slow. I melt
and sleep in your sigh;
That last day– child cereal, gross dream.

Gods and Nobodies

All the displasia buried with gold.
All the Gods and nobodies
living in the lumpy-breasted, the fractured hips, the aged and aged,
the leechfeasted, sun-colored, the unconscious bodies looking
more peaceful now…Peace,
I pray to store-bought figurines; Peace Hadea,

be a nutrient that lives in catheters and portlines. Institutional
groundroot, binding mechanism for the would have been dead.

Grandmom lives eleven moons longer
than her seventh death (that year of cancertalk, middlenight waft
knocking from underdoor.) Grandmom’s whisper
voice stretches past Mom and past. The yellow lamplight under
the door slants like fog; gaseous fingers curl around childcancer babble

medicine later
won’t be able to breakfast,
yes, mom, was
on the car-ride home, shhhhh,
sedate her quickly, yes,

some CD sings clap your hands, all the infinite

handless entities awaken from
phantom pain. We dunk one another’s heads like bees–
conduct tiny, blink-sized baptisms

like we’re pond
witches, like
we’re fire dancing for saltwater.


Jade Aurélie Rivers is a writer and intuitive reader living between Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. Her writing explores the intersections of queer identity, chronic illness, and disability, while interrogating notions of what is sacred and what constitutes geographies. She writes in English, French, and Italian and is heavily influenced by experimental Italian poets of the 20th century, such as Amelia Rosselli and Margherita Guidacci. She is currently studying revisionist mythology, poetry translation, and the poetics of disability.