The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Wishbone Dress by Cassandra J. Bruner


I think of how gods prefer their oracles
blind & their prophets impotent,

how two milligrams of estrogen
was enough to mold Eve from a shard of bone.

If only the world would hush,
I could hear my skin thinning.

Listen: sleep is a wasp’s nest inside the mouth.
Come morning, I am doubled over

the sink, spitting stingers & wings. Each heave
a prayer for a homeland,

a recitation of the Song of Songs.
In this manner, the body learns its shape.

As I scrub the lining of my cheeks
with lemons,

the rinds speak
in my great-grandmother’s voice—

Child, your hips have already fused.
A gash in my mouth sings

of all things made new
as it hardens like a cataract.

This selection comes from the book, The Wishbone Dres, available from Bull City Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark.

Cassandra J. Bruner‘s The Wishbone Dress was the 2019 winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Competition.  She earned her MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University where she served as Managing Editor of Willow Springs Books. Finalist for Black Warrior Review‘s 2018 Nonfiction Contest, their poems and essays have appeared, or are upcoming in The Adroit JournalBlack Warrior ReviewCrazyhorseMuzzleNew England ReviewNinth Letter, and Pleiades among others.

Sarah Clark is Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly, Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She’s edited folios for publications, including Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms, Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, First Peoples, Plural. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations.

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