Poem: “Venus” – The Feminist Wire

Poem: “Venus”

by Megan Spencer



sunday morning on the highway

after a breakfast of sweet potatoes and coffee

we drove into a swarm of bees.

a blur on the spring-colored oregon horizon

their tiny bodies smacking the windshield in hundreds

sounded heavy like raindrops

a pulpy mess of yellow grief,

bits of wings and striped centers

adorned the front of the car like confetti

announcing the cost of our escape from this town.


winged things show up in my dreams

a long time ago,

an eagle flew itself into the sliding glass door

slightly open, inches from where I slept.

in my sleepy panic I slammed the door

catching its beautiful wing.

the eagle screeched long and full

its crushed wing, its look of untamed betrayal,

waking me to what my fear had done.

this was a dream, maybe. maybe not


in the sweet detroit night,

the air holds my skin humid and thick

and I am thinking

of what it could have felt like

to send your bones over

to choose that unknowable viridian abyss

to wish yourself a fish

to say forever to the vessels of human violence,

you can’t have me.


how long is the half-life of slavery?

what happens to a body in water?

what kind of mercy is dying?

i have so many questions

so few answers, i am learning

reprieve is always dangerous

but sometimes i imagine

the wilderness at the bottom of the ocean

we who are not afraid of the dark

celebrating the queerness of mermaids.


MS photoMegan Spencer is a graduate student in Queer Studies at Oregon State University. Her work focuses on memory and kinship in black women’s literature on slavery. She is a painter and an organizer with the Black Dinosaur Collective. Though currently living in Oregon, she calls Michigan home.