The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Closer to Where We Began” by Lisa Richter



We, who do not know if there will ever
be anything but our word against his,

why are our words not midwifed,
laid naked and glistening on our chests
where their cries can be soothed?
Why are they extracted from our throats

with forceps, the stories of our pain
irrevocably dented, every pause
for breath in the recounting seen
a recanting?

It is not enough to say: I am a spotted elm
dying of root rot, my leaves blotched
with blood, green spaces diminishing.

It is not enough to say: I am a Russian nesting doll
whose inner shells have been whittled
into shavings and thrown in the fire.

It is not enough to say: This happened to me.

This selection comes from the collection Closer to Where We Began, available from Tightrope Books. Order your copy here.

Lisa Richter‘s poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, The Malahat Review, The Puritan, The Literary Review of Canada, and The Minola Review, amongst other publications. She is the author of a chapbook, Intertextual (Pooka Press, 2010), and was longlisted for the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize. Her first full-length collection of poems, Closer to Where We Began, is now available from Tightrope Books. She lives, writes, and teaches English as a Second Language in Toronto.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

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