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

WHEN I DEFEND MY NAME IN COURT

I arrive smeared with filth
& crushed
asters Palm pressed
to a leather bible I say
my goddess is a nest of grime my worship
a cheap strap-on pursed under the tongue

The jury of gleaming women staple my birth
certificate to my forehead reciting
the deadname while by hand or
by vise witnesses
fail to pry my hips wider Without
verdict the judge recounts
stories of women hexed
by the sun’s spit of women never
believed Locked out
on the courthouse steps my love
watches transfixed as a shrike
pins robin hearts to her left index For want
of relief for want of a branch


This selection comes from the book, The Wishbone Dress, 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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