The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


And Ryegrass, and Wind

When we drove by the field where the horse
always stood, the chestnut
named Loretta, you’d move
your small hand to the glass, say Horse,
you’d circle your hand in the air to ghost
the mall carousel, I’d say
But those horses
aren’t real
, you’d say
Nay, and one day
the field had no horse in it.
One day the air was a hole
all the nutbrown real
had fallen through. That day
you splayed your hand on the glass
and said Horse the way
you’d say Milk, and there
was only thistle and a lip of light.
The next day there was a paper
on the fence, some child’s
crayon paper of a horse.
And you made me drive
to the fence and climb out
and touch the muddy sheet.
Or we’d drive and park
in front of the raw, unstained grass,
our windows up, and watch
the brown crayon lick the wet
pulp dripping from last night’s
rain. You’d bring your cup
of red juice or a book
in the car. And you are two arms
lifting and spinning, you
are nosing the glass and I
am your mother, I am the one
who is supposed to save you, my flank, my gambol, my
mane, who can never save you, my flesh,
my field, my whinny, my clover hair.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Fairy Tale for Mother and Teenage Son

A wolf dreams his death
at the foot of a bloodied alder. You know this
because it’s your son who dreamed it.
You had a son who’s now a wolf.
The snow-hour he wakes to is bright with breath
from his new mouth and moonlit by his cry.
You had a son. Now you are bewildered.

A wolf can be mistaken for a rock.
A wolf can be mistaken for the moon.
A wolf must be mistaken when
he looks at his body and sees your son.
He was a child, felt his body enter snow
but the snow was the muscle
of a dream, stretched past howl and bone.

He looks at you now from beauty, his dread-body.
He sees you through his hackles, his smoke eye.
You are no wolf: can’t be. Are soft, white, a rat–
whiskered other. Your hungers smell wrong. You lean,
all flesh-belly song–he remembers. You pry a lullaby
from your crowded mouth: he sees teeth. Wolf hunches now,
hungry. Numb. He was your son. He turns away.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Dear October

By the soft collar
you claimed me, season
of early dark, October
at my pin curl’s end. My father
was now a Wednesday night,
a Nova in the drive.
The sedan pulled up at six, horn
hurtling through the bricks:
his headlights fixed mist
in the front-room glass.
And my mother, unwived
for weeks, already down in the den,
sleeping the dahlias off.
Cold month, you turned
me eleven: purse in hand, buttoned
and clasping at the mirror.
Ready. Unready. Afraid.
Dear stairs, dear ladder
of stars, how do I climb down
to wet gravel, away from her?
Where
would I hold my purse,
what could I keep inside?
There was no prayer for this,
no kindness. Dear branch
gusting between porch
and windshield rain,
whose girl are you?
Do you lift your head, or bend?
Dear October, dear door.
By the garnet sleeves you held me.
By the braid.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


Crown

Believe a crown of kingfishers, their spines
tuned for ascent, their belted
feathers split

with blue light that scatters
as they loose the tree–
a crown, a wound, a consequence

of birds whose blue light rattles sky,
whose feathers, strung beneath our star,
sing to bruising. Believe

a curve in the road, the climb
of its spine that sings
under a boy, standing

where an officer’s car
might come, might shatter blue light
into the trees. Believe corona

of our sun
belting its flares at twilight,
suspended: a gown, a wound, a wish.

Believe the crown of my son,
soft, unhooded–fifteen
is a crown cleaving to its own shine:

he swings an arm from the shoulder,
his hair inks shadows
over the moss–

he lifts a lighter to the paper
birch, beholds a leaf almost
to burning.

Believe that my son–his skin brown
as the sparrow’s throat, his collarbone tender
as kingfisher’s wing–

belongs to me, my absent
white body–no, belongs
to the trees

that loosed a crown of birds, a mercy:
believe my son
no ornament, no thorn–

that he should not
be loosed
from this place, that he

should not need to fly
from blue light–
a wound, a crown, a circling–

believe the trees
will keep close his body,
that he might still hold fire in his hand.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Where the Wolf by Sally Rosen Kindred, released by Diode Editions in 2021. 


First Night

Two hours after my father left for good
               with his wet hair lamp-gleam black and his zippered bag,
my mother pulsed through the house, turning off

all the lights. I followed her. Then sat
               on the rug in the dark watching smoke twist
up from her cigarette and drop

small stars to burn into her blouse, black with blue roses.
               I did not yet believe
in the kitchen to come, in bottles that lit

and littered the air, tilting here from the future–
               that God could lay her down, years, on that couch.
I looked up at her. I touched the rug’s braid.

Behind her head: four cold windows.
               Beyond them, outside, in grass moon-wet with night,
a ghost Wolf guarded the yard.

In memory She moves now out from the alders
               and skirts the silver swings.
Her tufts bristle in the grass.

We had called Her name–with a snap of the switch
               on the glass-white globe, turn
of the lamp’s brass key. With our breath and fingers. Without that dark

Wolf could never have found us. She
               could not have come to me. Would not
have felt safe. My mother

was sagging already, losing stars, buckling
               under her story. Pain found me Wolf ’s
ghost body: gave me Never and fur I dreamed, I hid, I held, I

would not tell.


Sally Rosen Kindred’s third collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Award (Diode Editions, 2021). Her previous books are Book of Asters and No Eden, both from Mayapple Press, and her most recent chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in journals including The Massachusetts ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewAlaska Quarterly Review, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing workshops online for The Poetry Barn.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 

We Take Turns Being Cleopatra

We’ve only hoarded enough asps for one woman alone,
and anyway, whichever of us is lying stiff as a doll in white
robes we will want the other two to make sure our tongue
isn’t hanging out, we aren’t drooling, we’re not lying in a
way that makes our gut look big or as though we have too
many chins.

Whenever one of us is done being Cleopatra she can sit up
and hand the asp to the next one. Relay race. Imagine how
the asp will have a sheepish look on its face, like, okay, I’ll
bite your breasts if I have to. It was just sunning itself in
the desert when we came along. There’s something about it
that reminds us of suckling an infant.

We really don’t care what Antony does when he comes in
and finds us taking turns laying ourselves out white and
rigid and precious as death. If he wants to fall upon his sword
he’s welcome to try.

In the sarcophagus we snap pics with our smartphones,
trying to catch the swivel of the asp’s lithe body just so,
the angles of our cheekbones, the immortality of us,
taking turns being Cleopatra.


Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 

First Frost

You don’t have to be making lists of the things
that will die tonight. You could be bright and
shiny like a new dime, one of those people who
looks in the mirror and says “you got this babe”
or “u go girl.” You could leave post-it notes
to yourself, Wonder Woman in face cream.

When the little nothing that lurks out by the ash
trees, and sometimes gets the hammock swaying
with its bent little grey finger, comes to the window
and starts whispering about all the children in cages,
or the sludge in the streams, don’t listen to all that
negativity. Turn the music up high, put on your sassy
leopard-print shoes. What happened to the leopard
when they turned him into shoes is no concern of
yours, and it’s not your business, what the wild dogs
are saying as the moon swings down low and sharp.
The nothing out in the ash grove is stripping the bark
from the trees, but you can always hide in the bathroom
And read a fixer-upper mag. A pop of color is just what
the rage doctor ordered. Apocalypse orange.

The horses on the ridge are passing with legs a
hundred feet long but there’s no horse that can ride
you out of this, so get the glitter ready, get the
embalming fluids. This is the night everything dies.


Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 

Athena Colossus

Someone hacked off the head of
the goddess Athena and stuck it
on a pillar in the Carnegie Museum.
Back in the old days you couldn’t
do that. You couldn’t kill a god,
and if you did they’d come back
to life, out of the blood spilled on
the soil, or out of a tomb, disguised
as a gardener. Or if there were a
dead god propped on a pillar you’d
be cautious around it, maybe sacrifice
something, at least surreptitiously
squash a spider as an offering. So
the spider should be happy that
there are no true devout here, no
one who believes in blood sacrifice,
except for maybe me, and I don’t
kill spiders.

I get away from the others
and stand a long time looking up at
that silent head, those sightless eyes.
Snakes curl across her breast, and
in spite of that, and having lost
her body, how peaceful she looks.
I could use some snakes on my chest.
I could use that helmet. If there’s any
way to draw blood in the museum
without drawing too much attention,
I’m going to do it next time. Scatter it
over her. Two thousand years she’s
been dead, but when she comes back
I’ll take her head under my arm and
carry it out into the sunlight.
They took your body, I’ll say.
Have mine.


Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 

Transubstantiation

Shape-shifting Jesus is green as a water snake,
muscling along in the stream, parting mud
with his narrow shoulders.

Shape shifting Jesus
rises from the puddles in a mist, shakes the dew
from his mane, lumbers golden and smelling of
blood past where the chickens squawk in fright.
If he eats them it will be gentle, and they will
like it.

Later, feathers sprout from his back
and heavy wings beat the air. He is not an eagle,
he is a vulture.

He has found my body where I
forgot to reclaim it, he is nesting in my vitals,
with my heart in his talons, pecking my eyes
out with his black beak.

Later still he will be
in your church, folded into a pale round of starch,
placed in your mouth.

Holding all my memory
and desire, he dissolves on your tongue.


Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss


This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Talking to Snakes by Rebecca Bratten Weiss, released by Ethel Zine in 2020. 

Talking to Snakes

Talking to snakes means starting
off as still as can be, unmoving,
holding the snake’s orange eyes with
yours, until its flickering tongue
gets Pentecostal on you, until you’ve
felt your body smooth itself out,
stretching like pliable dough, pretzel
dough, stretching and rolling, arms
and legs twining together, everything
vine-like, rope-like, and then when
a phalanx of scales has crept from
your toenails up to your skull, you
are sleek, you are butter, you can get
in through any door, insinuate your
self into bathrooms and greenhouses,
undulate along the water, eat a mouse
whole, and like it. You are coiled in
the hot sun, and so is the snake, and
now you could ask it anything, like
whether that whole business of the
fruit and the garden was true. If it is,
you understand, you’ll have to decide
whether to be angry or not. But it
looks at you with its wise eyes and
you can’t remember what there was
to be angry about. Having to wear
clothes, maybe? But now you don’t.
You’re naked again. You drape your
body, iridescent, over the sunlight.

Later after the man finds you both
he cuts your heads off with a shovel
and drapes you both over the garden
wall. A lesson to someone.


Rebecca Bratten Weiss is a freelance academic and organic grower residing in rural Ohio. Her creative work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Two Hawks Quarterly, Presence, Connecticut River ReviewShooter, New Ohio Review, The Seventh Wave, and Westerly. Her collaborative chapbook Mud Woman, with Joanna Penn Cooper, was published in 2018, and her collection Talking to Snakes by Ethel in summer 2020.