Wardrobe Best Dressed: Sally Rosen Kindred’s “Tiger Lily Leaves the Book for Now”

Tiger Lily Leaves the Book for Now

Bringing up the rear, the place of greatest danger, comes Tiger Lily, proudly erect, a princess in her own right. She is the most beautiful of dusky Dianas….[T]here is not a brave who would not have the wayward thing to wife….Observe how they pass over fallen twigs without making the slightest noise.
— J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy

If my mouth were a place
the plot came aground, found
sand, found words rounded like wet stones
and teeth,
if my arms
held bones demanding description
and each bone were a song
or a weapon,
if my fists were full of opals
I’d keep reading.
If my lips moved in this story
we could talk.
I’ve shut your book. Just think
if my sisters and brothers were more
than a smudge on the page, than Redskins
moving in tandem, marching
in some dim
ellipse, waiting to be elected
for salvation
or the Superbowl.
Imagine me, waking: the chapter’s
light defined
by my lids swinging wide.
I want to be specific, arch my left
brow, my story
all linguistics
and technology. I want to be so ugly
you can’t look. I want a family
but you’ve given me a beer in the cheap seats.
Make me a crazed spiral,
nautilus scrawling
Newton’s laws in the sand. Or a girl, fine,
and American, I’ll do it still:
all I need’s something to write with,
a quarter or a cigarette.
I’ve thrown down your book.
Bend or kneel to find it. Open it
back up, light your fervent candles.
I’m the patron saint of getting out of here.

“Tiger Lily Leaves the Book for Now” appeared in Sally Rosen Kindred’s chapbook, Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, available from Hyacinth Girl Press.  Purchase your copy today!

Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two books of poems from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014), and No Eden (2011), and two chapbooks, Garnet Lanterns (2006), winner of the Anabiosis Press Prize, and Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Quarterly WestHunger Mountain, Verse Daily, and other journals.

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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