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. 

On a Wire

The trees bend backwards, break
themselves bearing a foot of snow,
power lines sagging in their wake.

Northern trees muscle up or give up
through each weighted winter,
hunker down under blizzards.

It’s the same for me. I thought
I bore each downfall with grace,
but nobody gave up their body like me.

A joy’s worth of crows on a wire choruses,
Nobody, nobody, nobody. And I am left
echoing in their outro.

But then the moon, swinging easily
in the staff of skewed electric lines,
sings to me in C-major, and I dance

a different kind of giving up, her voice
descending into notes for which we
have no names—this one, the color

of a crow just at dusk on the last day
of the year, that one, my body, after
it’s given in for the last time.

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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