The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Kirsten Kowalewski, is from Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander released by CavanKerry Press in 2021.

Lilac Sundays

On weekends, over the years, our family went
to the annual flowering at the Arnold Arboretum,
where panicles of blossoms in mid-May were
at their height, bunches of corollas dripping
from boughs in that sanctuary for trees. We’d spread
our checked cloth and picnic in a cloud of sweetness
and bees. That there could be an arboretum.
That there could be that many different shades of purple.
These outings showed me that, and the names for birds
and their calls as other days we’d walk Mount Auburn
Cemetery with binoculars and quartered peanut-butter-
and-jellies. That a cemetery could be a place for life.
That we could go pioneering through a yard of graves
and see beauty in the markers. That we could scan
branches for flickering feathers, follow a dash of red
or blue across the sky to find where it landed,
waiting there with eyes trained on the greenery until
it flew again. We took out the battered Peterson
and went looking through its pages for what revealed
itself in the air. This taught me patience, to look
around, and to try to name what was singing there.

Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Massachusetts Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere, and her collaborative visual and written work has been published in multiple venues online and in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press, 2018). Rebecca’s books include a chapbook, Dressing the Wounds (dancing girl press, 2019), and her debut full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats (CavanKerry Press, 2021), which was given a “Must Read” distinction from the Massachusetts Center for the Book as a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. Rebecca teaches writing at Westfield State University and Amherst College and works with poets in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. She is the editor/director of Perugia Press.

Kirsten Kowalewski is the editor for online horror fiction review resource Monster Librarian. She has an MLS and a specialist certificate in school library media from Indiana University, has worked as a children’s librarian and elementary school media specialist, and is a lifelong reader.


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