Wardrobe Best Dressed: Leigh Anne Hornfeldt’s “Ecstatic Vein”

Ecstatic Vein

I press the distention to show
the doctor what I mean. See?
It pops right back out. He kneels
to the floor, cups a hand under my knee,
takes the heel of my foot
into his other palm. For a moment
I’m Cinderella waiting for a glass slipper,
a happily ever after.
In the corner the nurse shuffles
pages of paperwork, looks at all the things
that have ever been wrong
with me – fevers,
mysterious wet coughs, all the times
my body paid for clumsiness
in bruises & stitches, the strange
bulges in skin (like this one) that kept me awake
at night wondering Am I going to die?
I know the answer is yes.
The answer will always be yes. One day
on the calendar waits to claim me and when
the doctor presses his thumb
into the small swell of my calf
and says with a half-laugh
It’s just an ecstatic vein – don’t cut it
shaving or you’ll bleed to death
I say ok when I mean I already know.

“Ecstatic Vein” appeared in Leigh Anne Hornfeldt’s chapbook, The Intimacy Archive, available from ELJ Publications Purchase your copy today!

Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, a Kentucky native, is the author of East Main Aviary (Flutter Press, 2012) &The Intimacy Archive (ELJ Publications, 2013) and the editor at Two of Cups Press. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, as well as the recipient of a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. In 2013 her poem “Laika” placed 2nd in the Argos Prize competition (Dorianne Laux, judge) and in 2012 she received the Kudzu Prize in Poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Spry, Lunch Ticket, Foundling Review, and The Journal of Kentucky Studies. 

This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected by Erin Elizabeth Smith. Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the author of two full-length collections, The Fear of Being Found (Three Candles Press, 2008) and The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Mid-American, 32 Poems, Zone 3, Gargoyle, Tusculum Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She teaches a bit of everything in the English Department at the University of Tennessee and serves as the managing editor of Sundress Publications and Stirring.


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