This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Swan Wife by Sara Moore Wagner, released by Cider Press Review in 2022.
What I do when you’re clear over there, over me is tie myself to the outside of the house, naked and pregnant, tie myself to the drainpipe, the clogged one—I want to be seen doing something unlike myself. Gender is this burden in the hip, shooting up the drainpipe, up instead of into the earth—remember I am a piece of moon. This is my catabasis. Hunker down or hold me against the clean sheet of the sky, legs out like chem trails. I want to divide myself from the image you’ve written in that book about mothers, you know the one—I am listening to the wind for another voice to call me out of my body, a stone from the evening, an eye for an eye—I am undoing it all, as a tapestry, I am not waiting any longer.
Sara Moore Wagner is the author of three prize winning full length books of poetry, Lady Wing Shot, winner of the 2023 Blue Lynx Prize (forthcoming in 2024), Swan Wife (Cider Press Review Editors Prize, 2022), and Hillbilly Madonna (Driftwood Press Manuscript Prize, 2022), and the author of two chapbooks, Tumbling After (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2022) and Hooked Through (2017). She is also a 2022 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award recipient, a 2021 National Poetry Series Finalist, and the recipient of a 2019 Sustainable Arts Foundation award. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals and anthologies including Gulf Coast, Smartish Pace, Waxwing, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Cincinnati Review, among others.
Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, South Dakota Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.