The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Look Alive by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from Look Alive by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, released by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2021. 

Content warning for violence and sexual assault

I Survived

Never pick up hitchhikers, help
a man on crutches load his van.

Heed gut feelings, or else, mimic
intimacy, shield your skull, play

dead after the second shot. Take
deep breaths before being forced

underwater. Hands hacked off to
delay ID, scale the embankment,

flag a passing car. Tell everyone,
just loved ones, or no one since

you hydroplaned over it, don’t
recall a thing, or do, but only

his fly popping undone, sky
searing blue beyond the trees,

the taste of rope. No one wants
to hear how time’s gooey; even

now, if someone comes up from
behind, walks a certain way, you

fall back, can barely be reached—
faces haloed, streetlights in fog—

and, all the time, carry survival,
necessary and half-forgotten as

tampons at the bottom of a purse,
saying you’ve bled, still bleed, live.

Luiza Flynn-Goodlett is the author of Look Alive—a finalist for numerous prizes, including The National Poetry Series, and winner of the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize from Southeast Missouri State University Press—along with seven chapbooks, most recently The Undead, winner of Sixth Finch Books’ 2020 Chapbook Contest, and Shadow Box, winner of the 2019 Madhouse Press Editor’s Prize. Her poetry can be found in TriQuarterly, Third Coast, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She also serves as editor-in-chief of the Whiting Award–winning LGBTQ+ literary journal Foglifter.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.

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