The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nerve Chorus by Willa Carroll

This selection, chosen by guest curator Heather Leigh, is from Nerve Chorus by Willa Carroll, released by The Word Works in 2018. 

Role of Girl as Tree

I go without protest     with boy

after boy     & a man     more than one

Daphne without the chase     in for something rough

bark     green sap     blond pulp     of an inner ring

I listen     to far sounds     cold surge     of water

over rocks     My father is not a river god

he cannot assist     The shape-shifting     is my own trick

further numbing transfigures     The tree becomes

a stack of two-by-fours     I can’t feel a thing

My father is a carpenter     hands callused

from hammer & saw     He can’t protect me

from them     He’s far     across town     at the lumberyard

sawdust     like blond confetti     on his arms

Willa Carroll is the author of Nerve Chorus (The Word Works), one of Entropy Magazine’s Best Poetry Books of 2018 and a SPD Bestseller. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, LARB Quarterly Journal, Narrative, The Rumpus, The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith, Tin House, and elsewhere. A finalist for The Tomaž Šalamun Prize and The Georgia Poetry Prize, she won Narrative Magazine’s Third Annual Poetry Contest and Tupelo Quarterly’s TQ7 Poetry Prize. Her poetry videos and multimedia collaborations have been featured in Interim, Narrative, TriQuarterly, Writers Resist, and other venues. She holds a MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in New York City.

Heather Leigh is a queer, disabled writer and editor who has been working within Chicago’s publishing world for more than twenty years, editing poetry for the likes of Curbside Splendor and reading prose and poetry for Uncanny Magazine. She has recently began to focus on her own publication goals between semesters teaching English, writing, reading, and journalism at various midwestern community colleges. She is a three-time SAFTA fellowship recipient, a multiple resident of Firefly Farms, and most recently had a speculative horror story published in Bloodlet, an anthology by CultureCult Press. She lives in Chicago with a retired cage-fighting poet, two rescue cats names after Buffy watchers, enjoying life with the family that caught her by surprise.

Leave a Reply