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.


a little star becomes a starry wheel
		rolling in huge silence	 toward us
announced by meteoric children
		flashing to nobody’s rescue
the catastrophe
will be continuous
		too big to be felt

thinking 	I don’t want to
the bride approaches glittering

later she’ll wonder 	must every
		wedding be a bloodbath

spidersilk plus cosmic debris equals
		cobweb veil of andromeda
	spiraling from interplanetary cloud
			down to her rock
brightly particulate
in slanted light
	dust in the clouded eye
		of told you so
eye that sees
	mother trail bright waves
		across her wrist 	no one
			more beautiful 		all mothers
say these things 	but mother not
where the gods can hear

that’s how you end up wheeling
	upside down 	through heaven
		nailed to your glittery throne
clink of chains
andromeda’s monster rises
	where the sea roars & whitens
		time for the sacred wedding
or feast
perhaps the god thinks
it will be a treat for him

but what can he do, Cetus
	with this breathing thing
		finless 		earthy 		no part
			of his usual diet

someone should ask if he might rather
		sink 		silent as the bride
			into the starless deep

. . .

already andromeda
	shone like a dropped
		over the departures
			of certain huge animals
	slow-moving 		dusty as old rugs
    leaving a bitter remnant
	wild cousins missing
	       their phantom familiars

osage orange 	honeylocust 	coffeetree
	all this puzzling unsweetness
		is fidelity
			to the austere preference
			        of vanished monsters
apple will you stay sweet
	without your bees
		your bears 	gorging on windfall
			in abandoned orchards
what is a word for
	animals that wish

. . .

she wishes for
		a winged bridegroom
		spiraling down
	meteoric flash of his shield
eyes closed 	waving the fatal head
	he’ll say don’t look
		and she won’t

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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