“Bone Collector” by Khalisa Rae

Koike Keiichi Heaven’s Door.jpeg


They say the difference between a hoarder

and a collector is that collectors see value

in objects others would discard, 


while a hoarder believes they need an item

to survive. I believe I am a hoarder


of perishable people. Prized possessions my fingers

strangled to hold to. Marks left on the throats

of those whose labels had expired years


ago. Instead of giving them back

to the earth, recycling the salvageable


parts of both of us, I affirm them, polish

their scratches and set them back

on the shelf of my body. How they rest 


so easy in my bed tucked in with all the other

stuffed animals I refused to give away.







Khalisa Rae is a native of North Carolina and is a graduate of the Queens University MFA program. Her recent work has been seen in Glass Poetry, Brave Voices, Hellebore,  Honey & Lime, Tishman Review, the Obsidian, Anchor Magazine, New Shoots Anthology, Red Press, Roses Lit, among others. She was a finalist in the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, White Stag Publishing Contest. She is staff editor for Kissing Dynamite and Carve Magazine. Her forthcoming collection, Ghost in a Black Girls Throat is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2021. She is also the newest writer for B*tch Media and Out/Body Magazine.