The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Dana Guthrie Martin’s “(in the space where I was)”


Selection from “(in the space where i was)”


(because I run faster now)
(and wear gnats like a protective garment)
(and use worms as hair ties)
(and rid hillsides of poisonous flowers)
(and bathe in a mixture of salt and urine)
(and have a tattoo of smoke)
(and I heal myself)
(and what I cannot heal I grind to powder)
(and use as a decontaminant)
(and I sit across from you at dinner)
(and hum Gregorian chants)
(and I suck the rot from you each night)
(and whisper vacca foeda in your ear)
(and scatter the phrase ab aeterno over the fields)
(and imperative is my only mood)
(and when I have had too much singing my notes begin to slur)
(and my eyes roll back)
(and my neck snaps with recognition)
(and this is usually taken for dance)
(and sometimes taken for illness)
(and never taken for visitation)
(and I have forgotten what arms are for)
(and what they are capable of)
(and we used to hold ours out to compare lengths)
(and your reach was always greater)
(and yesterday was a thousand years and a thousand birds and a thousand misrepresentations)
(and inside the echo is a cave)
(and inside the scream a mouth)
(and inside the air a feather)
(and inside the nightmare a birth)
(and inside the stone a pool of water)
(and inside the body a pattern)
(and I string the heads of rabbits together)
(and wear them as a train)
(and they catch detritus in their fine hairs)
(and I sort what they collect)
(and place each item in an étagère)
(and once I found an owl pellet with bones inside)
(and worked the bones like a puzzle)
(and fitted them into the shape of a mouse)
(and not a single bone was missing)
(and I wondered if someone would ever fit me back together)
(and recognize me as human)
(and if you would try to pull me apart again)
(and did you mean it when you said you would let nothing of me go ever)
(and why years ago did you cut a swatch of skin from my thigh to use as a handkerchief when you could have had all of me at any time)
(and did holding back make you feel generous)
(and neurochemically balanced)
(and what did it feel like to carry part of me against your chest)
(and was it like running your hand along a nation’s flag, knowing your invasion was near)
(and lately I have been thinking of the way birds molt)
(and how feathers are dead structures)
(and if lives are cast off in this manner)
(and if that means something surrounding the life is not dead)
(and what exactly that might be)


This selection is from Dana Guthrie Martin’s chapbook In the Space Where I Was, available from Hyacinth Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Dana Guthrie Martin’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012), and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). Dana was recently diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency and thanks all blood and plasma donors for their life-saving donations to those in need.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Stirring: A Literary CollectionGutter EloquenceArts & LettersRedactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.


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