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Adrienne E Christian

Years: 2012, 2016


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


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


She was

a girl with her head in her

hands. She was

a girl who just couldn’t make


meet up

with no support check from my

dad. I was

the curse of the blood with no


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




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.