Jesse Rice-Evans

Handle It

Holding on, something else I cannot do, the cannonball wedged between my shoulder blades an
anachronism, marked by its age, its inevitability, the way I knew I was already burning long before I

If I blame anyone, it's probably the echo of my blonded life frozen in aging photos: me rapt with
wine at an art show (credit: Joel Fernando);  me distant with cigarette on downtown porch (credit:
Hilary Walker); me, a blur of warm aura, hair curling, ringed with sweat. Was it worth it and I know it
was, just for the trickle of bodies up and down the long back stair to my patio, the scald of
Aristocrat vodka in a smoke-ravaged throat, the warm crust of fresh fried doughnuts after a night of
photo shoots.

This relearning has come with practice: many weepy visits to doctors’ offices and therapy couches
have left me equally despondent and determined; weekly acupuncture appointments get me
spotty with cupping bruises and groggy from napping.

My green glass Mason jars swill with bitter brown tinctures of ginseng for energizing, skullcap for
headaches, fistfuls of red jasper and tourmaline in my pocket support my root chakra; I balm clove
and sandalwood across my back for loosening, chamomile for spasms, maca for hormonal
balancing; I bloom beargrass, jewelweed, my pothos tumbling an unimaginable forest, the tangle of
my heating pads a jungle of buckwheat pillows and pill organizers

Jesse Rice-Evans is a Southern poet, rhetorician, and disability activist. Her first full-length collection is forthcoming from Sibling Rivalry Press in 2019. Read her nonfiction and poetry in Heavy Feather Review, Monstering, Entropy, WUSSY, and The Wanderer, among others. She teaches queer texts and composition at the City College of New York.