Madness by sam sax

$18.00 Penguin

Clinically framed and achingly embodied, this thrilling debut takes our bloody hand in its bloody hand and leads us through the halls of mental health institutions, treatments, and histories. I am in awe of sax’s formal dexterity, as well as his ability to hold his gaze on a moving wound. All around, the walls pulse with nightmares, pulse with questions: “what does it mean to be descendent / of something monstrous? // to still love the monster?” —Gabrielle Bates

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ON PREP OR ON PRAYER

            high risk factors

+ inconsistent condom use;

i slip

+ sexual contact associated with substance abuse;

my arm

+ history of prior STI;

into the earth

+ anonymous sexual partner(s)

& pull out

+ multiple sexual partners ( > 1 per year);

the fat heart

+forced/coerced sexual contact;

of a deer

+ history of tattoo;

shot through

+ history of MSM;

the stomach

+ sexual contact with known positive HIV partner(s);

by famine

+ sexual contact with known IV drug use by patient or partner(s);

& watch how

+ history of body piercing;

it still

+ history of shared razors;

throbs