Keshia Mcclantoc – nature vs. nurture

Keshia Mcclantoc

nature vs. nurture

it’s easy to worship
chained to a whipping post
waiting for eager spectators

mother laid the foundation
built on bricks of disdain
layers of asphalt and neglect

then came the man
slipping fingers under childhood skirts
pouring concrete for the post

wood stained with words,
touch starvation, and
intersections of vulnerability and rage

and a boy who made the chains
bound them tight with
bruises and hard grips

skin breaking to cheering
celebration of fresh blood
someone always ready to step up

day in and day out
i practice in my temple
chanting till red drips down my spine

fear keeps me going
drives each whip’s crack a little harder
too loud to ask

who brought me to my whipping post?


Keshia Mcclantoc is originally from Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Her work has previously appeared in The Tower Literary Journal. She currently studies English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is pursuing a degree in Composition and Rhetoric. In her free time, she likes writing short fiction and poetry, starting queer feminist discussions, and having deep, emotional conversations with her cat.

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