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  • Writer's pictureBulb Culture Collective

On Forgiving The Man Who Altered My Blood by Joshua Merchant

who was i

but a glass

of water


unable to exist

without a pair

of lips,


a box of grits

dredging my

mattress?


in my mind i

was singled grain.

boy, did you


prove me wrong.

boy, how we multiplied.


this must’ve been

the fire momma

warned me about


a torch of god welding

our faces together

into something


unrecognizable. all i want

is to know or remember our name


our smile, laughter,

our freshly lathered

and rinsed skin


where our letters

in the alphabet start


or begin to be

able to taste

the memory of us


without my eyes-

loins- mind- body

betraying themselves.


there are days i wake

and the whole of me wants


to put a hole in you. but with

so much to recover from

i cannot add a body

to the list when

ours was the first.


the Black body is so rich

and the fucks we give

can pay the morgue


and what We think

is love can turn

a vein into quicksand


and because We are

i must find the honey

left in me to pour


into you

for me

for Us


where ever We are

my double

my doomsday clock

my coffin

my candle


Originally published by Push Black (580 Split, Mills College Literary Journal)


Joshua Merchant is a Black Queer native of East Oakland, CA exploring what it means to be human as an intersectional being. What they’ve been exploring as of late has been in the realm of loving and what it means while processing trauma. They feel as though as a people, especially those of us more marginalized than others, it has become too common to deny access to our true source of power as a means of feeling powerful. A collective trauma response if you will. However, they’ve come to recognize with harsh lessons and divine grace that without showing up for ourselves and each other, everything else is null and void. Innately, everything Merchant writes is a love letter to their people. Because of this they've had the honor to witness their work being held and understood in literary journals such as 580Split, Eleven Eleven, and The Rootwork Journal.

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