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  • Carrie Rudel

Creatures Bright and Dark: A Poem

Let me heal you

By the ache of my sullen flesh

Let me be the solace you find

When lightning shatters the fragile air

Betwixt heavy hours of the night

Feed me, gorge me on your warmth

Your clouds of breath in the still dawn

Plaintive echoes of a moonlit song

Tip your tears down my shuddering throat

I’ll lick the sulfur from your skin

Eager and horrible

Name me as you do the stars

Would that I could join them

In your beloved sky

Should She protest our love

I would know that my very creation was a lie

For never have I been more certain of God

Then in that sweet moment when I met your eyes

That crash of surety

Coalescing around bone-deep terror

Nothing purer than

My ravenous trust in you


A reckless conviction


Author’s Note:

I wrote this piece during a period of my life when I struggled with guilt, anxiety, and depression surrounding my sexuality. As much as I wanted to love who I was, others' ignorance and hatred twisted deep into my mind. The arguments that others used to justify their bigotry – arguments that I myself had started to believe – were mostly centered around religious constructs of morality. Throughout this poem, I confront false ideas about what is “sinful” in the eyes of God. I even deconstruct God as a consistently gendered being, imagining her to be a reflection of the complexity within myself.

Additionally, I attempt to capture the feeling of allowing myself to love freely, despite being frightened by the intensity of my emotions. It takes courage to describe the sensations of loving regardless of their palatability. In this way, I start to let go of my attachment to the judgment of others. Lastly, there is a great deal of contrast in the wording and imagery I use. The intention in juxtaposing love and religion, beauty and filth, generosity and greed, etc. was to proudly claim the duality of being. The title reflects this. I am a human creature, both bright and dark, and I welcome both parts of me. With these words in mind, I begin to love myself.


Carrie Rudel is in the midst of her early twenties and is pursuing a degree in queer and sexuality studies. She enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and acoustic music. She can often be found cooking way too much pasta or dancing barefoot in a parking lot at night.


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