Featured Artist & Poet: Justin Rogers

Matilda visits a Well of Empty Buckets

“They’re all still alive in you.”

                          – Taylor Steele


Scene – Matilda can’t clean the house in the dark


Matilda’s fingers are wands

willing the whole house

bleach itself sinless


The scary part about magic

is when everything is spotless

except the witch it comes from


The fun part about darkness

is the adrenaline – how the anxiety

asks the eyes to find filth on


anything to help the hands

ignore the lightless body – the clutter

flesh houses.


Scene – Matilda visits the Well



Matilda visits herself

with a bucket full of weed

smoke & comes back with nothing



Matilda visits her lungs

with a bucket full of second winds

& comes back with a bucket full of nevermind



Matilda visits her palms

with a bucket full of career choices

& comes back with handfuls of dead skin



Matilda visits her mouth

with a bucket full of silent

& doesn’t leave


Scene – Matilda is a Well

handing out buckets of disappearing acts

handing out bleached bones & keeping

the filthy rags, the anxiety still alive

dishes still washing mid-air

mouth still silent; a body

of empty


self portrait by Justin Rogers


Justin Rogers is a poet, educator, coach and Pushcart Prize nominee from the city of Detroit, Michigan. Rogers is an advocate for literacy among inner-city youth, and the amplification of Black voices. Performing around the Mid-West and coordinating after school intensive creative-writing programming with InsideOut Literary Arts, Rogers actively shares poems surrounding living and growing as a Black man in America. Rogers most recently has work published or forthcoming in Tinderbox, Mobius Magazine, Apiary Magazine, 3 Elements Review, Skip-Fiction, Gramma Press and Public Pool. Rogers also is an editor with Wusgood Magazine and an Adult Advisor for the youth-led arts journal, Underscore Review.

If you like what you read here, check out the interview we did with him last year.

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