The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Through a Red Place by Rebecca Pelky

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from Through a Red Place by Rebecca Pelky, released by Perugia Press in 2021. 
A pedigree chart tracing the lineage of Lucy Cesar Cochegan back 6 generations, with the poem titled "Pedigree" superimposed over the second page, which is mostly blank.
(click image to enlarge)


There’s something skeletal about it. 
Though we call them trees, they seem 
unfleshed, like they’ll never be more 
than dug-up bones laid out and labeled 
on bleached tables. 


		It needs thicker sinew, the raw 
		red meat of stories to flesh 
		the bony processes of names and 
		dates. It needs the scarred skin 
		of history, even if just to peel it away. 


				as if bred, like it all comes down 
				to me, and now I’m at some show, 
				balancing on bones stacked end 
				to end, like I’m here to score my color 
				and form, strip back my imperfect 
				skin to read what’s written in my blood.

Rebecca Pelky is a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin and a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Her first poetry collection was Horizon of the Dog Woman (Saint Julian Press, 2020). Her second collection, Through a Red Place (Perugia Press, 2021), won the Perugia Press Prize. Pelky’s co-authored hiking guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was published by FalconGuides in 2021. She holds a PhD from the University of Missouri, an MFA from Northern Michigan University, and is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Clarkson University in Upstate NY.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.


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