The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed – Becca Barniskis’ “Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket”

from “Act I”

My Name Is Xavier Box

I am unusually clever for my size
and shape. I turn on a pistol,
sleep cold leaded most nights.
I enter head first the dim hall,
look for letters left lying
about—unsent or incognito.
I have been sent to investigate
an almost secret war.
Its casualties are ashamed
and hide their injuries.
Their communiqués are in code.
I listen outside. And devise
my plans accordingly.
My Name Is Mimi Sprig

I have whole boxes of soldier
that I light on fire
to read by.
Those small heads burn
for some time.
‘I eat my enemies! I drink my foes!’
I would tell anyone who listened
(usually at breakfast).
But no one is left to hear.

Today I will sweep out all the rooms
and polish the empty tins
and clever plaster foodstuffs
arrayed so carefully in the pantry.
Then I will roll bandages.


This selection is from Becca Barniskis’ chapbook Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket, available from Anomalous PressPurchase your copy here!

Becca Barniskis’ chapbook of poems, Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket is just out (2014) from Anomalous Press and is available also as a musical collaboration with Nick Jaffe in both vinyl and digital formats. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from numerous journals, among them Handsome, The Boiler, Mid-American Review, burntdistrictConduit, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird and the Northwest Review. She teaches poetry and she works as a freelance writer and consultant in arts education for a range of schools, arts organizations and public agencies across the upper Midwest and around the US. Along with her co-authors Nick Jaffe and Barbara Hackett Cox she wrote the Teaching Artist Handbook, vol. 1: Tools, Techniques and Ideas to Help Any Artist Teach (University of Chicago Press). Becca is an associate editor at the Teaching Artist Journal. She also helped launch and develop Artist to Artist, a growing network of artists and educators who meet regularly to develop and share their teaching practice.

T.A. Noonan is the author of several books and chapbooks, most recently four sparks fall: a novella (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, 2013) and, with Erin Elizabeth Smith, Skate or Die (Dusie Kollektiv, 2014). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Reunion: The Dallas ReviewWest Wind ReviewHobartNinth Letter, and Phoebe, among others. A weightlifter, crafter, priestess, and all-around woman of action, she serves as the Associate Editor of Sundress Publications, Founding Editor of Flaming Giblet Press, and Literary Arts Director for the Sundress Academy of the Arts.


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