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Studying the Valladolid debate while at McLean Hospital

cw: colonial violence and enslavement

Let’s not talk about my treatment.

Let’s talk about my ancestors’.

Let’s talk about their wrists and ankles,

red and pustuled, shackled by manacles.

Let’s confront sugar, cotton, tobacco, indigo,

the blood-stained burrs and grass.

Let’s not tackle the existence of the soul;

let’s address the hellish encomienda.

Don’t ask me if I’m thinking rationally now.

Ask instead why they thought my ancestors couldn’t.

Let’s not get religious like las Casas.

Let’s raise hell like Christ in the temple.


Trying to Rush the Apocalypse

cw: suicidal ideation

As alone as John of Patmos,
I, too, suffered tribulations.
I, too, welcomed the end.

For me, Armageddon 
was here and now. For me, 
judgment was harsh. 
For me, Christ was slow.

And yet, I failed to kill 
the Beast within. 
I failed to usher 
in the Apocalypse.

But I did encounter 
those in white,
coats for robes,
lights for halos.
Among them, 
I found someone 
who didn’t judge.

Bless her title, bless her work. 

May her name 
be found in the Book of Life.

Thanks to her,
I didn’t blot out mine.

Await a new Jerusalem.
Behold a new Jonathan.


Originally from San Antonio, Texas, JONATHAN FLETCHER holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry from Columbia University School of the Arts.  He has been published in Acropolis Journal, The Adroit Journal, Arts Alive San Antonio, The BeZine, BigCityLit, Book of Matches Literary Journal, Catch the Next: Journal of Ideas and Pedagogy, Colossus Press, Curio Cabinet, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Emerge Literary Journal, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, fws: a journal of literature & art, Glassworks, Half Hour to Kill, Heimat Review, Hyacinth Review, LONE STARS, and Midway Journal. Additionally, he has served as a Columbia Artist/Teacher for New York City’s iHOPE, a specialized school for students with traumatic brain injuries, as well as a poetry editor for Exchange, Columbia University’s literary magazine for incarcerated writers and artists. He has won Northwest University Press’s Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize.  Currently, he serves as a Zoeglossia Fellow.

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