The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Elizabeth Vignali, is from The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons by Acre Books in 2020. 

Columbus, Mars

                                                            Just when we agreed
                                                                           we’d overreached, touched
                                                                                                         that ragged, final edge,

                              the next continent began
                                                                           drifting toward us, floe
                                                                                                         shushing its own pink name.

                                                            At first, dreamed up—
                                                                                          a soap bubble’s
                                                                                                                        laminous prism—

                                             then, the separate colors
                                                                           clicking into focus.
                                                                                          Then, embers. Shore of ash.

                              Like the old world’s
                                                            temperas, it darkened
                                                                                          the longer we threw our light upon it,

                                                            though we still claimed
                                                                                          each crater rim,
                                                                                                         what beveled just below

                              the surface. Each had its memory
                                                                           of water, rust like a bathtub’s ring.
                                                                                                                  Red sky at night,

                              sailor’s delight. . . .
                                             We were half-drunk when
                                                                           we landed, cruel on our own iron taste.

                                             Out of thin air, we became
                                                                                          toponymists, touched every place
                                                                                                                                      we’d named:

alluring                 transfixed
                                                            fertile?                  inclined to love
                                                                                                                            Who would stop us

                                             from drawing this map too,
                                                                                                         in a girl’s naked image?

                              Hail the Santa Maria, full
                                                            of plastic grace. We bottled
                                                                                          and vialed minerals, new flora,

                                             scrawled our stories
                                                                           on her cabin walls—
                                                                                                         in white ink, a mythic code—

                                             tell the kids:
                                                                           Long ago, a fleet of men
                                                                                                                 let their parachutes bloom

                              over desiccated ground.
                                                                           The lost blue pilot felt
                                                                                                         the wind tear at his face

               just before his feet touched down,
                                                                                          his mind gone blank, like sailcloth.

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers (she/her/hers) is the author of Chord Box (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), finalist for both the Miller Williams Prize and the Lambda Literary Award; and The Tilt Torn Away From the Seasons (Acre Books, 2020). Her poems appear in The Missouri Review, Boston Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Bennington Review, FIELD, Guernica, Washington Square Review, Blackbird, The Journal, Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, AGNI Online, Crab Orchard Review, StorySouth, on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and many others. Her creative nonfiction appears in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017, Best American Travel Writing 2017, The Missouri Review, The Journal, The Rumpus, LitHub, Prairie Schooner, and The Hong Kong Review.

Elizabeth Vignali is the author of the poetry collection House of the Silverfish (Unsolicited Press 2021) and three chapbooks, the most recent of which is Endangered [Animal] (Floating Bridge Press 2019). Her work has appeared in Willow Springs, Poetry Northwest, Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. She lives in the Pacific Northwest on the land of the Noxwsʼáʔaq and Xwlemi peoples, where she works as an optician, produces the Bellingham Kitchen Session reading series, and serves as poetry editor of Sweet Tree Review.

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