The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ladies’ Abecedary by Arden Levine

This selection, chosen by Guest Leslie Rzeznik, is from Ladies' Abecedary by Arden Levine, released by Small Harbor Publishing in 2021.


fixes what hangs from women’s bodies
in strands. She uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
(Fifth Edition) and needle-nosed pliers.

Her women have mistaken glittering shrapnel
for gems. They fear losing them,
fear theft. So: Their bodies for safekeeping.

She twists silver wire and makes
tourniquets. The precious, paining segments
are then delicately removed.

“A” was previously published in Washington Square Review as “Healer”

Arden Levine’s debut chapbook, Ladies’ Abecedary (Harbor Editions, 2021), was included in CLMP’s 2022 Reading List for Women’s History Month. Her poems and other writing have appeared in American Life in Poetry (selected by Ted Kooser), Barrow StreetHarvard ReviewThe Missouri Review’s Poem-of-the-Week, Poetry Society of America’s Song Cycle series, WNYC’s Radiolab, and elsewhere. Arden is a reviews writer for Green Linden Press, a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, and a New York City municipal employee; her daily work focuses on housing affordability, homelessness prevention, and equitable community development.

Leslie Rzeznik lives in southeast Michigan. She earned her BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and won The Academy of American Poets prize in 2013. Her work has appeared in AlyssBone BouquetSling Magazine, Willawaw Journal, and Bear River Review.

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