The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: (aviary) by Genevieve Kaplan


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from (aviary) by Genevieve Kaplan, released by Velize Books in 2020. 

Waiting, with wings

as there is clearly something in the undergrowth
moving in the tree, the chortle
the caw. thrush of a bump up from behind (as the woodland
settles). the dirt grinds, the mud
does not reflect some voices, some of these branches
breaking, if I wait. what
is less empty streambed (barrel cactus), squirrel in the tree
and if they win? (if the spot
is not mine, after all on the path up the hill. someone
wins. someone’s voice
rattles deep in the throat) someone climbs. the light
of the page burns, so blurs, so
is heavy on the eyes—vapor in the air never aids
for adjustment, hurrying along
opening up to the heat (of the day) (of the afternoon)

we feel it in every direction, even shy
lift of the hair, shy pushing it out of the eyes
(as there’s something about being alone. some shout
about it, from afar, or not so far away). tiny orange-striped
white flower on the low bush, something to the effect
of which, which forms the effect of, a single blossom
at the top of the stalk: mustard, sagebrush, squat
palm (in the foothill woodlands, the oak forest)


Genevieve Kaplan is the author of (aviary) (Veliz Books, 2020)In the ice house (Red Hen Press, 2011), and four chapbooks, most recently I exit the hallway and turn right (above/ground, 2020), an anti-ode to office work. Her recent poems can be found in PositPuerto Del Solethelcan we have our ball back?, and elsewhere. She lives in southern California where she edits the Toad Press International chapbook series, publishing contemporary translations of poetry and prose.

Callista Buchen is the author of the full-length collection Look Look Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals. She is the winner of the DIAGRAM’s essay contest and the C.D Wright conference’s Emerging Writer award, and is the founder of the Carlson-Stauffer Reading Series at Franklin College. 

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