The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Carol Guess and Kelly Magee’s “With Animal”

Guess Pic  Magee Pic
With Storm

A girl fell in love with a hurricane. Its eyes convinced her it was more than just bluster.
Their color changed according to what it ate – brown for lake water, blue for sea – but in
them she imagined a clear day. She thought if she could tame it, they could be a couple.
A little wetter than most; a little fiercer. Harder to justify to the fam. It wasn’t as if she’d
chosen to fall in love like this. She’d rather someone who wasn’t hell bent on splintering
her white picket fence. Someone who could stand at an alter without destroying it. But
this had just happened. She couldn’t explain the science of how love worked: the cogs of
it, the gears. All she knew was that the hurricane did more than make her carpet wet. All
she wanted was to lay naked on her roof. For glass to shatter.
She decided on capture. One day the hurricane blew in, dripping and smelling of
lakewater. Wearing a necklace of teeth. Iron in its hair. The girl stood outside holding
ropes. Caught the thing off guard. Ringed it around the waist and pulled it gently, gently
through the door. But the hurricane didn’t take well to domestication. The neighbors
heard breaking dishes, screams. They saw the bruises dotting the girl’s limbs like islands.
Still she wouldn’t let it out. The neighbors shook their heads when they saw her stomach
balloon. No one came to help her labor, and it was a good thing because what the girl
begat was more storms. Hundreds of them. Thousands. They spilled out of her like
marbles, dense and blind. They swarmed, darkening day to night.

This selection comes from Carol Guess and Kelly Magee’s collection With Animal, available from Black Lawrence Press. Purchase your copy here!

Carol Guess is the author of fourteen books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered and Doll Studies: Forensics. Forthcoming books include The Reckless Remainder, co-written with Kelly Magee, and Your Sick, co-written with Elizabeth J. Colen and Kelly Magee. She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University. Find her here:

Kelly Magee is the author of Body Language (UNT Press 2006), winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction, as well as the forthcoming collaborative works The Reckless Remainder and Your Sick. Her writing has appeared in Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Stream, Ninth Letter, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Passages North, and others. She teaches in the undergraduate and MFA programs at Western Washington University. Find links to her work at

A recipient of a 2015 NEA Fellowship for poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Staci R. Schoenfeld’s poems appear in or are forthcoming from Washington Square, Mid-American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Muzzle, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. She is a PhD student at the University of South Dakota.


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