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Christian, Adrienne

Christian, Adrienne

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Adrienne Christian earned her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University. She is the author of the poetry book A Proper Lover (Main Street Rag, 2017), and 12023 Woodmont Avenue (Willow Books, 2013). Her poems have been featured, or are forthcoming, in The L.A. ReviewPrairie Schoonerfrogpond, Obsidian, Alimentum, The Criterion, and others, including anthologies. Christian is also an Associate Editor at Backbone Press, and an Editorial Assistant in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction at Prairie Schooner literary magazine. A member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, Christian is currently earning her PhD in English and Art at The University of Nebraska. When she isn’t writing, she’s entertaining, traveling, or practicing nature photography.

dog in a dead man’s house

I was
a dog in a dead man’s
house. I was
a tooth in a dead man’s
mouth. I was
a rat in a family’s
den. I was
a hog in a horse’s
pen.
She spoke
to me when she wasn’t pissed
off. She got
pissed off when she looked at my
face. I got
my freckles and nose from my
dad. He was
a man set on being a
rat.
She was
a girl with her head in her
hands. She was
a girl who just couldn’t make
ends
meet up
with no support check from my
dad. I was
the curse of the blood with no
pad.
She said
your dad needs to take care of
you. He needs
to feed you and buy you new
shoes. He’s got
to learn to provide for his
kids. I ate
the roaches I found in the
fridge.


easter ham

when I stopped speaking to my mother
my brother stopped speaking to me.

so my sister-in-law had to stop speaking to me
so my husband stopped speaking to her.

my in-laws, out of respect for me,
stopped speaking to my brother.

and my aunt, in love with my brother’s kids,
stopped speaking to me and my husband.

my nephews and niece keep asking for me
on days of their recitals.

i used to send cards but got them back
unopened and x’d in red!

at christmas and easter there’s only one ham,
two sides, plus me and my husband.

his parents might come if I’m in the mood
and we are on speaking terms.


how i got over

for marvin bell and t’ai freedom ford

i imagined sisyphus happy.
that great big boulder would give me
beautiful shoulders. that steepest of hills
would give me gorgeous calves. the onlookers
at the bottom of the hill? i could crush ’em.
i imagined sisyphus happy.

A Proper Lover (Main Street Rag, 2017)

12023 Woodmont Avenue (Willow Books, 2013)

Winner of 2007 University of Michigan “Five Under Ten” Young Alumni Recognition Award

Finalist of The Rita Dove International Poetry Award (2016)

Finalist of the COG Poetry Award (2016)