Rachel Custer’s “You Are, Somehow, Not” is our poem of the week. Rachel Custer works as a therapist at a residential facility for children. More of her poetry can be found at confessor-rachel.blogspot.com as well as Volume 1, Issue 2 of burntdistrict.
YOU ARE, SOMEHOW, NOT
By Rachel Custer
You are, somehow, not
(s)lumbering thing the ground needs
but a constellated orbit
around the self
She was three people who denied
they were three people
felt like shale,
fine-grained and fractured
particulate (brain) matter
(it didn’t matter –
nothing was so bad as all that)
felt toxic and thorned, like yellow starthistle
all fluttering filament
and hyaline spine
Nancy Devine provides our poem of the week, “Waking,” which was published in burntdistrict volume 1, issue 1. She teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota where she lives. She also co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project.
By Nancy Devine
My head a nest of clouds stirred
by a wooden spoon. No coffee.
Quitting—like how the French leave a building:
door slammed on morning’s first mouth.
Sometimes I want to rub everything
on my teeth: the fish, the marvels…the moon.
Sara Henning’s “Orpheus after Eurydice (or After Finding Your First White Chest Hair),” from burntdistrict volume 2, issue 2, is our poem of the week. Sara is also the author of A Sweeter Water (Lavender Ink), as well as the chapbook, To Speak of Dahlias (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poetry, fiction, interviews and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Verse, Willow Springs, and the Crab Orchard Review.
ORPHEUS AFTER EURYDICE (OR AFTER FINDING YOUR FIRST WHITE CHEST HAIR)
By Sara Henning
I tear it without asking, frail
as a sunfish’s bones, only one
in a nest of dark magnolia vines
suturing your chest to your body’s
age, swallow it so it can’t emaciate
other hairs with its version
of tensile strength, body becoming
not part of me, but its own
inevitable end. You’re lucky,
male black widows hunker between
the female’s fangs just to gain
entry to her body, male orb weavers
die immediately after mating,
so there’s nothing to lose
by being loved or eaten.
When hungry, even an exhausted
spider unweaves her web,
fashions the silk to the size
of the beetle she can’t liquefy
with venom to drink the sweet
meat, leave the exoskeleton,
her failure as huntress. So I
swallow the hair because I know
what it is for the body’s pieces,
once separated, to sing to each
other, know how once separated,
the body, given time, stops
J. Bruce Fuller is a Louisiana native and currently resides in Lafayette, LA where he is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Louisiana. His chapbook 28 Blackbirds at the End of the World was published by Bandersnatch Books in 2010. His poem, “Boy, Age 9,” can be found in burntdistrict volume 2, issue 1.
BOY, AGE 9
By J. Bruce Fuller
This is what I learned of dismemberment.
Hunting squirrels with my uncle,
I learned to track them through the trees,
to walk beneath their rustle and chase.
When the squirrels noticed us they froze
and lay flat against the mottled bark.
It was my job he said to walk noticeably
across the straw covered ground
and move them around to expose
the squirrel’s splayed back to him.
The scattershot would hardly ever kill them,
but drop them like a top to the wooded floor.
I learned to grab them by the tail
and flail them fast against the trunk.
I learned to listen for the moment of death,
that hollow crack of skull on tree
like acorns falling on a tin roof, early winter.
for Bhanu Kapil