Rib Cage by Onyx Hammond

My heart did not come from the rib of a man

but from the womb of a grieving girl

Thick as velvet, warm like blood

young, naive visions of love:


the sun is wide-eyed

tangled in sheets

there’s a choir in my chest.


Crickets mock me with their symphonies

presenting the antithesis of my imagination

the dirt, the grass, the trees

begin to look like me


Creation’s pulse in my fingertips

to your dismay and at my expense

Within the confinement and comfort of a fence

tired, apparitions of love:


my eyes fall heavy

I make my bed

Do you hear a choir in your chest?


Biography: My name is Onyx Hammond. I started writing in middle school and I’ve been filling journals ever since. Writing is my main emotional outlet and it’s provided me with clarity about my life more times than I count. I want my work to inspire other queer poets and artists to share their experiences and express the emotions we have been taught are ‘abnormal.’ To me, the most inspiring facet of poetry is its insistence on breaking rules. Many are drawn to the medium because of the way it embraces everything on the outskirts of the norm. In this way, poetry has been a source of liberation and emotional revolution for a variety of communities. More than anything, I want my work to honor this aspect of the art form. I am infinitely inspired by the work of Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Ocean Vuong, Joy Harjo, and Audre Lorde. My work is a mosaic of every poem I’ve read and these artists make up the main pieces. Thank you so much for reading!