The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Swan Wife by Sara Moore Wagner

This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Swan Wife by Sara Moore Wagner, released by Cider Press Review in 2022.

Housewife as Eve

A drop of blood pools on my finger,
blossoms like a tulip, bulbs and sets,
as the sun. I show it to you.
You prune a ficus benjamina,
weeping fig, it bleeds milky, too—
I say, you’ve never cared about self
or preservation. Every bit of sap
nettles your skin, irritates you, nags
and itches you like I do—the way I can’t
ever let things go. In the garden,
I push all the branches up,
out of reach. I can’t hear anything,
any whispers, eat this—come to it—
just this: A plant knows to sap
upon cutting. My name
means something like settling, like the end
of the day—evening. The sky,
sometimes, looks red and splotchy
like the back of your hand—come
rescue me, if there’s anyone there at all.
Separate me from the land, from man.
I want to lick the wet wound of the earth
until something heals in me
or it, until we stop wanting
to snip it all away.

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 ReviewCream City ReviewSouth 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. 


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