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 Half-God Appears

You, agnostic,
standing in god-light at the edge of the wood,

sense the pulse,
say: truth, tiny, partial, contingent.

Have you been looking for your maker
but longing to live?

I met the half-god;
his mother was human she had tears in her eyes.

Or, he came from the back world;
he had tears in his eyes.

He suggested “hold on,” a way to die.


Suggestion: astonishment.
Suggestion: fruitless waiting.

Encoded in the problem of the 20th century,
from which I emerged,

tiny dots formed the figure on horseback:
not form but the marrow of form.

The half-god is graceless,
but an arrow can’t kill him.

The half-god points
to your false hope of fulfillment.

He emerged from the back world, eyes devoid of tears.


The horseback figure obscures the daytime
clouds and the pillar of fire.

He is seen by the unseen and overlooked by God.
The half-god reminds you

that you are still waiting,
empty belly and eyes intent on the leaves.

This half-god could be fought with flowers
and rejoicing, but who can?

This is what he took down
open-mouthed, lance drawn:

cool nights spent in the garden out behind the house,


the honeysuckle vines, the garden wall, the house.
Or was it the waiting that tore them down?

The pink pill was the promise,
the capsule broke open, the dots formed the figure:

he emerged from the shadow of the wood
in a lullaby

translated variously as: jealousy, the ground
falling away from the feet, anxiety.

Suggestion: abandon all hope.
Suggestion: “no one said you wouldn’t be changed.”

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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