Re-published poems from Amanda Crum

first published in Rhythm n Bones Lit & Dark Marrow mags.

Ghost Fractures

There's twang
tangled in my roots,
but it only unspools
inside loss.
Grief rolls syllables
across my tongue, 
transforms ain't into
a lullabye. Language
fractured by ghosts.
I can almost hear
the trailer park girl I was,
spinning circles in her room.
I wonder
when she became so afraid
to let her bloodline
tumble from her mouth.
Maybe it was the first time
Death stood in her doorway,
rolling a cigarette for someone
she loved. That girl
wanted grease-spattered comfort,
husky Appalachian pronunciations
and dropped g's,
and all she got was
more loss.
Now I cling tightly to my accent,
a connection to my beginnings
that can only be
put away
rather than

In the Abbatoir

We watch with eyes full of moon
as she crosses the tile floor,
sensible shoes clicking a metered rhyme.
She wears a jacket, like a banker,
but underneath she's as sad as the chipped
glitter polish that lines my fingernails.
Under her examination I am still,
bloodless wounds marking my time,
a lump in my throat that betrays
my voice. She doesn't feel my gaze
as she dips her finger into a pot of
mentholatum and smears it across her lip,
doesn't see my contempt as she steadies
her shaking hands. Those suits will
never take her seriously, not with those
cheekbones. With the snap of powdered gloves
she reaches into my throat, her interest
piqued as the voices outside the door fade.
Their expectations were low, the beer bellies
sheathed in pinstripes and coffee-stained ties,
not bothering to mask their derision. From
the soft pink tissue she pulls a cocoon and
the moth unfurls its wings across my vision.  Here
I am there and all the spaces in between. I tell
her my secrets, my throat unstuck,
focus narrowed down to millimeters. I tell
her that she can leave but she'll never get away,
we are all just lambs crying in the night and
the abbatoir is always full.

Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Amanda Crum

Poetry by Amanda Crum : An Offering

Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Amanda Crum

with Amanda Crum:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Amanda: When I was about 9 years old I started taking a little red notebook around the trailer park I lived in to write down observations. Sometimes I pretended I was a reporter, other times the words became poems. Then I discovered Stephen King’s IT on my mom’s bookshelf and became hooked on horror.

Q2: Who is your biggest influences today?

Amanda: King is still a major one, but I also love Gillian Flynn, Janet Fitch, and Carol Goodman. It’s the observer in me, I think. They really know how to build worlds that feel familiar and tell an engaging story with poetic language.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?

Amanda: In a succession of tiny towns in Kentucky. My family goes back to one Appalachian county for centuries and that’s always been a major influence on me creatively. Small-town life holds a particular kind of beauty and pain. I recently finished a chapbook of poetry that focuses on that exact thing.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?

Amanda: Any time I take road trips with my family, I’m inspired. The change in scenery wakes up something in me. I think I’ve written a short story or poem after every trip we’ve ever taken.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?

Amanda: I don’t remember anything else. I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and it feels strange not to be creating or writing something. Not because I have anything particularly groundbreaking to say, but because I just have to get it out.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Amanda: My family is a gaming family, so there’s always a Fortnite round happening or a Mario Kart 8 competition. I love to read, of course, but my to-be-read pile is overwhelming right now so I’m avoiding it a bit.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming work you’d like to promote?

Amanda: I recently won the Diana Woods Memorial Award for Creative Nonfiction (Lunch Ticket), which blew me away. I also have a middle-grade novel called Where Wild Beasts Grow coming out from Fitzroy Books in spring 2022.

Q8: What is a favorite line of yours in a poem/writing?

Amanda: From my poem “An Offering”, published in Fevers of the Mind in March 2021:
“If I could,
I would roll you in ashes
and make a mold of plaster,
I would preserve you
like the ones
who never left
and let your bones
whisper their story
to those hills.”

Poetry by Amanda Crum : An Offering

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Amanda: My husband is my constant supporter, reader, and champion. Whether I’m beating myself up over a rejection or in need of reassurance that a poem or story makes sense, he’s always there to help. I couldn’t have made it as far as I have without him.


Tall Grass: Crum, Amanda: 9781083086686: Books Amanda Crum: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Poetry by Amanda Crum : An Offering

An Offering

I wouldn’t like to think about how many moments
I’ve stolen from the future
and offered to the darkness
that dwells in my bones.
Here, have a bit of my blood,
I have no use for it anyway.

How many times have I thought of you,
some version of you,
infant or nearly grown,
young woman or almost-man?
I imagine your eyes
so like mine,
pale as a bowl of milk
at dusk,
hands your father gave you,
tempered and hungered.
I train my mind to move stealthy
around the memory of you
inside my rib cage,
a long-past ache
that never had a name;
I still labor to push you out,
to birth you from my body
and leave this tattered shell behind.
If I could,
I would roll you in ashes
and make a mold of plaster,
I would preserve you
like the ones
who never left
and let your bones
whisper their story
to those hills.

Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work has appeared in Barren Magazine, Eastern Iowa Review, The Hellebore, The Dark Sire, and more. She’s the author of Tall Grass and The Day You Learned To Swim, both of which made the shortlist for Bram Stoker Award nominations. Amanda lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.

Twitter: @MandyGCrum

feature photo by Matthew Fassnacht

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