This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Swan Wife by Sara Moore Wagner, released by Cider Press Review in 2022.
The bananas perch in the bowl, severed as a woman’s hand. I am undressing in the kitchen, want you to touch me, severed as a woman’s hand. Divorce me, if you want to, I want you to touch me right here, in the kitchen lights— Divorce me if you want, I know what this looks like right here, in the kitchen lights— the knife handles glinting—just know what this looks like, it is an even slice, a piece, appealing, the knife handles glinting—just where we can see them. A corner, a sigh. An even slice, a pealing, unhinge you from your skin, your eyes where we can see them, cornered, sigh— How you appear florescent in this light. Unhinge me from this skin, my eyes want to see more open windows, how you appear in this light, to be alive and not want something, want to see more open windows, the vastness of this continual night to be alive and not want something besides these bananas, perched—this bowl: mine.
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.