The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Rare Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Sally Rosen Kindred, is from Rare Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel, released by Green Writers Press in 2020. 


I bend and rise
with the grace
of a wide-hipped
tulip. I distill
lavender, smash
cloves, repeat a kitchen
experiment to boil
dye that can bear
the cruelty of soap
and hard water.
I’m spent on the oven
coals, radiant heat.
I find myself
in throes of pin
and needle, buckled
patterns. I know soft
fabric for its
translucence. I cannot
peer through my own skin
into its veined architecture,
how my body breathes.
But a magnifying glass
will let me learn
everything concealed
within my own flesh,
trembling to erupt.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press 2020) and three chapbooks. Her work has appeared in AGNIAlaska Quarterly ReviewGulf CoastSouthern Indiana Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

Sally Rosen Kindred‘s third poetry book is Where the Wolf (Diode Editions, 2021). She is also the author of Book of Asters and No Eden, as well as three chapbooks, including Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewLos Angeles ReviewShenandoah, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches online workshops for The Poetry Barn. 


Leave a Reply