The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Wolf Hat Iron Shoes by Martha McCollough

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Alaina Hanchey, is from Wolf Hat Iron Shoes by Martha McCollough, released by Lily Poetry Review in 2022.

Black Hole Diary

dear X
lately I spend my time in the study of black holes and by study
I mean watching all the youtube animations I can find and then
free associating

I’ve learned:

beyond the event horizon of a black hole
time is ((((ffffrozen))))

a black hole swallows a star
like a dog drinking from a garden hose

. . .

the internet asks an astrophysicist:
what color is absence
can dark matter give you powers
backwards happen can time if what
you might think these questions were from children
but no it’s all 42-year-old men

. . .

meanwhile my niece dreams of a black hole under the bed and is
afraid / I say don’t worry they just evaporate / which seems to be true
but will take about as long as all the time there is / I leave that out

not coming for us
black holes don’t roam
the galaxy like roaring lions
seeking stray suns to devour
despite their lurid press

. . .

dear X
we might think of the cosmos as a giant circus:

	for example 	a black hole is a clown car but the clowns can’t get out.
	for example 	space is a bouncy castle whose center is everywhere
	for example 	gravity is a midway barker
			        charismatic lowlife reeling you in
			        roll up, roll up 	to a tent full of trapped curiosities

this morning I saw you      time      lean against the door of the leopard
cage sway the door a little back and forth       the leopards up on their
hind legs staring over your shoulders       their eyes like suns

does all of space taste of gunpowder

fleeing stars we also flee

. . .

dear X
I have accidentally swallowed a black hole / I’m full of darkness / disappearing
/ waving goodbye goodbye

. . .

the sky is crowded with animals
	it is a cabinet of clocks and bears
		beneath these
			          the astronomer’s pet telescope
		      floats weightless
				delicate wings
					unfurled to light

the universe reels
around my house
drunk and happy

the stars bounce and roll
on the huge imaginary

              speeding     asleep

say why the wind of the turning planet doesn’t knock us down
say why the wind from the sun doesn’t lift my hair

Martha McCollough lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in QWERTY, Bear Review, Zone 3, and Tampa Review, among others. She is the author of the chapbook Grandmother Mountain (Blue Lyra) and the full length collection Wolf Hat Iron Shoes (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2022).

Alaina Hanchey, known as Harley to both friends and foes, believes rhetoric is intensely important and the way we speak can change the world. That belief was shared by her best friend, Quinn Arielle Kerlin, who inspired her to volunteer and immerse herself in those words that matter, and the connections that matter.


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