My poem, "Of My Wounds, There Are Many" has been nominated for the Rhysling Award through the Science Fiction Poetry Association. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the award, here is a little background information, via the SFPA's website: "The Rhysling Awards are named for the blind poet Rhysling in Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “The Green Hills of Earth.” Rhysling’s skills were said to rival Rudyard Kipling’s. In real life, Apollo 15 astronauts named a crater near their landing site “Rhysling,” which has since become its official name." Hearing that my work has been nominated for this award is a truly humbling experience, and I feel blessed to be nominated alongside such wonderful poets. I'm very much looking forward to the anthology this year.
For interested parties, please see my poem below, which was first published in Sanitarium Magazine.This poem was heavily inspired by the "Wound Man," an illustration which surfaced in early European surgical texts in the Middle Ages. Surgeons used this drawing as an anatomical guide to injuries. Some of you might even recognize the interpretation of it that Hannibal used during one of his many musings.
By Stephanie M. Wytovich
Snapshot to blood and bone,
there’s a knife in my head,
but my migraine was two years in the making,
stitched to the side of my skull
like the arrow tip lodged behind my eye,
buried in my brain like the bruises
of last night’s thunder storm,
my teeth ripped from my mouth,
shoved down my throat
like how the sky pushes out rain.
Of my wounds, there are many:
see the delicate stigmata cut into my hands and feet,
the gashes dug into my thighs, the tally-mark slashes on my wrists;
I am the punctured female, the pincushion of hysteria,
a traumatized sack of feminine injury,
the flesh of my flesh, the scar of my scar,
I’m a collection of lesions and lacerations,
a patchwork of black and blue contusions
worn out from where you scrubbed me raw,
beat me till I seeped red like rare, woman steak.
Look to me on this table as I bleed and break,
a toy of operation, a surgical muse to the amputation
of bodily consciousness: hear me when I say I feel nothing,
that with each incision and penetration, I am dead,
gone from this world of torment and torture,
a disappearance, an acceptance to oblivion,
to the land where I can forget the flower,
the blossom of what I saw lies underneath.
Yes, use my soon-to-be-corpse as a nametag,
as a placard to the other girls who are destined to bleed;
I am closing my eyes to your knives now,
deafening myself to the fractures you inflict;
I will cease to be your canvas of mutilation,
Only a head, a torso, a heart,
best to photograph me while in transition;
it’s the last chance you’ll have
to tray and locate my soul.