The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot, released by CavanKerry Press in 2021. 

At Seventeen

Remember me
from Junior Symphony?
I played trumpet flourishes,
you played the bassoon—
ungainly pipe of exotic beauty.

Old glowing wood and ivory,
metal keys, long curving metal tube
and double reed
that ended in your mouth,
Elena McCloud.

Your breath
gave us the sound
of ancient forests
moaning in the wind
and gnarled trees laughing
at the antics of magical beasts.

Even during rehearsal breaks
the reed was in your mouth,
nestled in a corner
staying moist.
You made your own,
a fiddly, persnickety process
of shaving bamboo
and wrapping it
in special twine.

Are you teaching
music somewhere, laughing
a deep, rich, bassoon laugh?
I loved you, Elena McCloud,
the person of you,
the sound
of you, though I didn’t
know it then.
I could not have known it then,
had no words
to talk about it then.

It took years to learn
the language of myself,
to accept my love of women,
and understand the place
your music took me,
sitting amid the brass
and wind
and complicated strings.

Kali Lightfoot lives in Salem, MA. Her poems and reviews of poetry books have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Poetry South, Lavender Review, Broadsides to Books, and Gyroscope. Kali’s work has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prize, and once for Best of the Net. Pelted by Flowersher debut collection, is available from CavanKerry Press and other venues. Kali was once a wilderness ranger in the U.S. Forest Service, and later founding Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes; before earning an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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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