The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Zoe Tuck’s “Terror Matrix”


where the path we’ve chosen takes a
shape     a common practice enclosed
in systematic speech     where a bogey
crashed or grew up strong     causes you
to shake from fear     the same team
the same air     to sit by the judge and
look through time and space     like a
suitor or a hunter     when’d you land
here      where we were forced first to
gather then disperse      or chose to flex
and zoom around the city a unit since
partitioned     fought what power a plaque
was later bolted in discreetly     to honor
and obstruct a learned behavior      if
i try the knob it doesn’t move      the
lockedness of the door’s affirmed if move
then pull and hope i will make the hall
though the doctor’s henchmen beat me 14
down but if knob turns but door still
sticks      i’ll ululate or gasp in horror
got locked up in an idealism blood and
money story      there were no pennies
on the dusty floor      i put some from my
pocket in the trash so if they checked
there’d be some      this wasn’t my first
lesson in unworlding      the doctor’s
henchmen checked the trash bag for him
the doctor gave me one slice of cake on
the face for each of them

This selection comes from Zoe Tuck’s book of poetry Terror Matrix, available from Timeless, Infinite Light! Purchase your copy here!

Zoe Tuck was born in Texas, where she first encountered two of her great loves: poetry and breakfast tacos. Since relocating to the Bay Area in 2008, she has been an active member of the local literary community, working for several years at Small Press Distribution and co-curating Condensery Reading Series. Her book, Terror Matrix (2014) is available from Timeless, Infinite Light. Some of her recent work can be found in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry, as well as online in issue 18 of textsound and issue 15 of dusie. She is also a poetry reader forHOLD: a journal, a monthly blogger at Michigan Quarterly Review, and an occasional book reviewer at the Volta blog. She is currently at work on a manuscript of tarot poems called Summer Arcana. Find her at or on twitter @oh_that_zoe.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.


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