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


For the brown widow who laid her eggs
under my son’s bicycle seat

You are searching the domed
curves of shelter, a haunt
of darkness to forge

a pair of eggs larger
than your body.
Anchor and parachute,

wisp and captor,
you cast your nets
cast and cast all directions

then time unspools before you.
Under lip of flowerpot
a lawnchair’s crook

against the weighted clanger
of the chime,
I’ve never spotted your starry

orbs without your fiddleback
your hollow mouthparts
perched in the filigree.

How I’ve dug the stick in
crushed the papery shells into dirt
then pulled you through the wreck.

My apology is thin. I don’t know
where to let you live.
He practiced in the driveway.

It only took a few yards
before he found the midpoint,
that precarious balance of belief

in the center of everything.
One foot pushes off
and the other pumps back,

divine symmetry.
I took him out to the track
where once he circled, he lit,

purposeful. Windmaker,
looping the afternoon to dusk,
how could the sky not

have been an anthem?
He wheeled;
you held. The eggs

spackled in their basket
feeling what of this world.
Laying the bike on its side

we saw your sticky lair,
he had reached under
earlier as he propped himself on.

Had we not dismantled
you would have continued
through the mornings,

the late afternoons,
as he learned how to take a hill
a fall, you would have stayed

until the breaking open
your divine
teal-metal entrance.

A wind here can take
down a litter of palm branches,
overturn the bottle-

heavy garbage cans
but you, feathery mass
of intricate making

remain on such silks
beneath the highway-bound car
the victor of a boy’s

lengthening body
coming into its power.
We head indoors and I am sure

you are more with us
than we see
nestled in the stashed corners

of our lives, mending.
Under the arch
of a thirty-year roof

built by whose hands,
we survive beyond
our knowing

all the wild and immersive
gestures of the earth
too large for us to perceive.


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 kimberlyannpriest.com.

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