A.Z. Louise is a civil engineer-turned-writer of speculative things, whose conjure keeps them company during the writing process. When not reading or writing, they can be found playing folk harp, knitting, or arguing with their sewing machine.
They wrote "Through" in issue 2 of Vulture Bones. Below is an interview about their evocative poem.
I feel such a kinship with the narrator of your poem. This idea that you look back at past interactions and past relationships, at specific moments, and that the interaction carries with it now warnings to be cradled into the future really resonated. Can you talk a little about where and how this poem came to be?
When I wrote this poem, I was thinking a lot about things that are harmful but can still give us comfort. Things that you might feel a little ashamed about, or hurt too much to return to. I wanted to write a love letter to the things I've outgrown—be they people or stories—and the warnings they hold.
The phrase that sticks out for me most in the poem is “lonely in my beastliness.” Who among us hasn’t felt like that? Especially if you deal with dysphoria. Especially given media representations of trans people. For you, where does that phrase come from, and what are you articulating with it?
When I was working through my gender stuff, I felt like I also ran up against my blackness and fatness as issues to work through first. The nonbinary community is often shown as being overwhelmingly white and thin; I was already supposed to be disgusted by my body because of my race and size. It was hard to tell what was internalized self-hatred, and what was dysphoria, and I didn't know anyone else going through the same thing. It's also just in my nature to work things out alone, often through writing, so it was a really lonely journey. I don't think that loneliness ever leaves us.
Where can people find more of your work? What’s coming next?
Links to my work can be found at azlouise.com