The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Believe a crown of kingfishers, their spines
tuned for ascent, their belted
feathers split

with blue light that scatters
as they loose the tree–
a crown, a wound, a consequence

of birds whose blue light rattles sky,
whose feathers, strung beneath our star,
sing to bruising. Believe

a curve in the road, the climb
of its spine that sings
under a boy, standing

where an officer’s car
might come, might shatter blue light
into the trees. Believe corona

of our sun
belting its flares at twilight,
suspended: a gown, a wound, a wish.

Believe the crown of my son,
soft, unhooded–fifteen
is a crown cleaving to its own shine:

he swings an arm from the shoulder,
his hair inks shadows
over the moss–

he lifts a lighter to the paper
birch, beholds a leaf almost
to burning.

Believe that my son–his skin brown
as the sparrow’s throat, his collarbone tender
as kingfisher’s wing–

belongs to me, my absent
white body–no, belongs
to the trees

that loosed a crown of birds, a mercy:
believe my son
no ornament, no thorn–

that he should not
be loosed
from this place, that he

should not need to fly
from blue light–
a wound, a crown, a circling–

believe the trees
will keep close his body,
that he might still hold fire in his hand.

Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.


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