This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté, released by Poetry Society of America in 2020.
An Incomplete List of What I Can’t Tell You
Why live oaks aren’t just called oaks,
and whether all moths splay their wings open at rest,
or some hold them closed like crossed legs.
Whether nonplussed is surprise or its absence.
How to make a fire. Why we say ripped to describe a body
that’s muscled and whole. Whether to believe those who say
they’ve seen an eastern cougar upstate, though scientists know
they’re extinct. Why it was a ghost cat before it even died.
What I said to my dead grandmother in the dream, when she strode
through the door on Thanksgiving and asked for a plate.
I was worried she wouldn’t be able to eat and would be embarrassed.
How she said to me you were wrong, heaven is real. What I’d feel if I could
What it means that my grandfather hunted deer after the war.
Statistical odds and if three people in my family have fallen
down cellar stairs to their deaths, whether it’s more or less likely
to happen to me.
What kind of fruit tree we stood beside when my mother told me
the skin cancer on her arm was nothing to worry about.
She snapped a cluster of twigs off and held it out like a chicken foot.
All our fruit trees are dying she said. Whether it was crabapple or pear.
Why ravenous refers to neither ravens nor ravines. The moon’s name.
I thought every moon in autumn was a harvest moon,
but I lived in a city and never grew my own food. What did I know of