Kimberly Ann Priest

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Author Note

These poems are part of a chapbook titled “Still Life” that will be published by PANK in October 2020. Each poem in the book begins “my pedophile”. The poems are a fractured carnival of language, each poem casting the pedophile in a new setting under the inspirited control of objects and expectations. However, the pedophile is not the main event; rather the speaker is as she is vicariously vivified and muted by the animated memories of the pedophilic act intruding into her present circumstances. The poems are linguistically tight, prose-y, and punctuated with slashes so that the pedophile feels immediately present and inseparable from the speaker.

Speaking from personal experience, this is the reality of trauma — time collapses. The past event is immediate and present. Interestingly, one of my readers commented that these poems also humanize the pedophile. I loved this; and I think it’s important to the drama in the text. Pedophiles, no matter how much we distain their behavior — are people too, and often suffering from traumas of their own. I believe these poems testify equally to the pedophile’s bondage as well.

my pedophile is a graphic novel

not as a strip of bacon already fried / having sloshed around in grease an extra half hour for flavor to cool / to bring out the salt / to pucker the half-corpse in the alleyway dripping with loose-leaf pamphlets and an extra side of bottled beer / having already sizzled in the smell of warm batter wafting from a kitchen where he handles the spatula so seductively even the cat hiding under the counter turns down her eyes / but this is his love of pancakes / he says / not an appetite for macabre cover art / he stares down at the scene in the alleyway and shrugs / slices pan grease seductively with a syrupy spoon.

my pedophile feels the need to dance

he bothers the sight of plastic fruit and fills a bowl with dimes, makes the comments stammer / wraps himself in yards of cellophane / shoots himself full of tiny white spines // from where? // unknown // but this is too much to juggle / too much to jugular // gesticulate // ejaculate // believe / so porcupines are freed and this seems to satisfy the audience / disinterested / clapping their forearms together in f-stop // full-stop // freeze / leaving capacity and range / items and elbows in every direction trying to score a good seat / my designers working with delicate compassion / folding corners / lifting centers / helping the fragile comb out with steam


Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), Parrot Flower (Glass 2020) and White Goat Black Sheep (FLP 2018). Winner of the a 2019Heartland Poetry Prize, she is an assistant professor at Michigan State University, poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose, and Embody reader for The Maine Review.