Fall 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 4 Luminous Gender Vessel |

The Plague of Blood

The Kenyon Review · "The Plague of Blood" by Julie Marie Wade Something happened I couldn’t have told you then.  — Joan Larkin Blood is the door that swings open and also the door that swings closed. Saloon doors swinging — flapping, more like — those wooden wings of old-time movies. I’ll take a sarsaparilla, please. Thirty years since the first swing, splat, splotch. Since the light sheets on the twin bed became an inkblot. Thirty years exactly. I have a memory for things like that. April 11, 1992. Spring in full swing. Spring coming on strong, with tulip bulbs pushing up into blossoms. Ditto the crocuses emerging from their corms. Soil everywhere split: a thousand tiny violences. No one ever mentions the force it takes to bloom. In the trim parking strips, across the lush lawns: evidence of ongoing upheaval. Dandelions, yes! Honeysuckle, yes! Relentless extravagance all around us, since nothing grows like a weed. Clover! Clover! Clover! My father n

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Photo of Julie Marie Wade

Julie Marie Wade is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, prose, and hybrid forms, most recently Skirted: Poems (The Word Works, 2021) and the book-length lyric essay Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing (Mad Creek Books/The Ohio State University Press, 2020). A winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir, Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University and makes her home with Angie Griffin and their two cats in Dania Beach, Florida. In September 2023, Autumn House Press will release her newest collection, Otherwise: Essays, selected by Lia Purpura as the winner of the 2022 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Book Prize.

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