The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Foxlogic, Fireweed by Jennifer K. Sweeney


The hour of snacks and homework 

and we’re enlarging the world with adverbs

of scale. See how easily smooth becomes


how we can silk it farther to the sheen that

is most itself. You are taller, stronger, a

little farther from my center, but not


(may we stop here in the horizon note of

farther) and you want to know how accretion

applies to wild. One field left longer, one

never entered 

by anything that sought to change it. 

Say wild and the honeysuckle curls round

the cedar and the cedar’s silence mats a

soft floor in winter whose most faithful

withholding buckles 

the cloudhead. Say wilder and it’s less 

bewildering, more why, 

the cloud funneling now, the animals

hurried into the barn, and we’re left 

staring at the floodwaters salting our

questions. Wilder rakes its impulsive

hand over us 

and we ride off the road in the night. 

And wildest, what sprung cosmos is that? 

I hope we never see it enough to know 

as here in this measured plot we keep

turning the hose on the fire ants and

they dutifully 

froth up. Somewhere lives expanses 

never perceived, deepest praise 

all the lost coasts, outbacks, untrodden 

tundras of this world, its earths too wild 

to survive us. My boy wants to know 

how wild it gets. As long as there is land 

that has never breathed in 

our borrowed must of oxygen, 

then the mandrakes quiver in their sacs; 

as you curl into sleep, the dryad 

is out there pressing her most unburdened head 

against evening’s northest altar. 

This selection comes from Foxlogic, Fireweed, available from The Backwaters Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of three other poetry collections, including Little Spells, How to Live on Bread and Music, and Salt Memory. The recipient of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and a Pushcart Prize, she teaches at the University of Redlands in California. Twitter: @jksweeneypoet

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at

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