The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: No Other Rome by Heather Green

This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Katherine DeCoste, is from No Other Rome by Heather Green, released by University of Akron Press in 2021. 

The Transitive Properties of Snow

Tonight it snowed, copious, like
when I had chicken pox, all over
the night sky’s skin and sickening.

Back home, you, inside my skin,
and a party with fake snow! There
I had a kind of freedom: you are

you, and I am me. It wasn’t easy
to live like that, one body gazing out
at another, but I grew up in a warm place.

Then I got cold. I got a fever, and
the fever changed me. Now my
body slips into another, and I am full of love.

Birds of paradise stood in the window,
then the ocean and its moving boats.
My fidelities multiplied, not split,

but doubled and doubled again,
until thousands or more encircled us.
Magic, I said, looking up from the bed

as you stepped out. Now here I am,
way up North, lonely as a snowflake
in a sea of like shapes. There’s a little

sand in my shoes and in my suitcase.
There’s the light; there’s the suitcase.
I finally understand a painting

I’ve seen of snow as paper cut-outs
strung on bare trees, to show the way
the world forgets itself so softly.

The light got under my skin. My hands
wave around the dark and net
through snowflakes. Strings break.

Heather Green‘s poetry collection No Other Rome was released in March of 2021 (Akron Poetry Series). Her writing has appeared in Bennington Review, Everyday Genius, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the translator of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won (Octopus Books, 2018) and her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote and Poetry International, and are forthcoming in AGNI. Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at George Mason University.

Katherine DeCoste is an MA student at the University of Victoria, on the stolen lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples and the WSANEC peoples. Their poems have appeared in Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere, and their play “many hollow mercies” won the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize. When not writing, reading, or answering emails, you can find them baking vegan snacks and forcing their friends to play Dungeons and Dragons.


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