The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs

This selection, chosen by guest editor Shlagha Borah, is from Dearest Water by Nancy Takacs, released by Mayapple Press in 2021.

Eating at the Pier

A scallop has two hundred eyes, and here I am
sticking a fork into one, my tongue

running over the soft groove where the cook
pulled the ligament, as I eye the serene green

backs of the Apostle Islands, hear what sounds like
a whooping crane. Some of us have guided cranes

with an ultralight a thousand miles back to their nests.
Sometimes we can be earnest in saving animals,

for even one to have babies. We recognize wildness
though not usually in ourselves. There are no verses

here for man or woman who’s boiled a live lobster.
Tonight the sky is so clear it will soon be irised with stars,

and we’ll immediately think of heaven, of eyes.
We’re civilized. Eyes watch us from the sky,

the tanks, the deep. I swallow another scallop,
maybe the last eyes I will ever eat.

Nancy Takacs’s poetry awards include The Juniper Prize, the 2018 and 2016 15 Bytes Book Award for Poetry, Weber’s Sherwin W. Howard Award, a 2020 Pushcart Prize, and a runner-up for the Missouri Review Editor’s Prize. She is the author of three other books of poetry and four chapbooks. Nancy lives most of the year in the high-desert town of Wellington, Utah, and spends time in Bayfield, Wisconsin, near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in a small cabin with her husband, poet Jan Minich. Their son Ian Minich is a photographer in Salt Lake City. Nancy is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Utah’s art hub: Helper City.

Shlagha Borah (she/her) is a poet from Assam, India. Her work appears in Salamander, Nashville Review, Identity Theory, Longleaf Review, Variant Literature, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. She is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is an Associate Poetry Editor at Grist. She has received support for her work from Brooklyn Poets and Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Pink Freud, a student-led collective working towards making mental health accessible in India.


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