The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: BLACK GENEALOGY by Kiki Petrosino

Flushed with notions of freedom
you follow the old wood road to its end.
B’s acreage opens up behind fence posts
a spill of storybook umber. Even the light
between birches feels thicker now
flushed with notions of freedom.
For a moment, you wonder if the land
will dissolve before you can rush forward.
Then you’re over the fence, on B’s acreage
where deer blinds hang like aerial masks.
You gather your private handful of acorns,
flushed with emotion. Freedom is old here
despite the long aisles of trail cameras
looking down from their greying trunks.
What can harm you on B’s acreage? Open
your stride to cover more ground. Any
descendant may access a grave, says the law
you printed before climbing the fence.
You’re free, for now. Enjoy the rush.

This selection comes from the collection Black Genealogy, available from Brain Mill Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Krista Cox.

Kiki Petrosino is the author of three collections with Sarabande Books: Fort Red Border (2009), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013), and Witch Wife (forthcoming, Dec. 2017). Witch Wife has received positive advance industry press, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and inclusion on The Millions’s list of must-read poetry for December. Petrosino holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Best American Poetry, Poetry magazine, and elsewhere.

Krista Cox is a paralegal and poet living in northern Indiana. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Indianola Review, Whale Road Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among other places in print and online. She twice received the Lester M. Wolfson Student Award in Poetry, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. In her abundant spare time, Krista parents, paints, and plans community events as the Program Director of Lit Literary Collective. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about her at


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