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

Guess Pic  Magee Pic
With Plush

     The twins sleep with animals. The girl wants a lion at the foot of her bed and the
boy wants a bear stuffed down his PJs.
     I’m pregnant, he says.
     My lion ate a tiger for lunch, she says.
     We choose a story together, one of their favorites, about the world before us, the
world that built now. Dinosaurs and furry people. Carriages, typewriters, men without
    I shut the door quietly and go into the living room. My wife is knitting a computer
on the couch. I grow some potatoes in the insta-farm. After dinner we punish the robot
for talking sass.
     I miss sweetness, I say.
     Do you miss witch burnings, too?
     Our husband chimes in. You two. Always bickering.
     I change the subject, something I’ve been practicing in compassion class. Time for
bed. Let’s pick our plush.
     My wife wants a gazelle. My husband wants a zebra. I want a sloth, so we go into
the zoo room and unlock the cages.
     Then we hologram nostalgia porn: a man talks on a phone that’s attached to a

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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