The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Life on Dodge by Rita Feinstein

Gradually, this new life closes over your absence like a scab.
The wound was smaller than it felt, the world so much bigger.
Right down the street—an abandoned gaslight plant
overgrown with grass and children. A farmers’ market
selling strawberry muffins and goat’s milk soap.
You always thought leaving me would be pulling a pin
from a grenade, thought I couldn’t withstand 
such cataclysmic detonation, but this is me climbing
from the crater. Washing the red down the drain.
On the far side of Dodge, glaciers roll back to reveal
circles of standing stones, dolmens full of bones.
To detonate is to excavate, to excavate to unlayer.
Beneath the pungent smoke is a certain sweetness,
beneath the separation, a kind of marriage.


This selection comes from the book, Life on Dodge, available from Brain Mill Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

 Rita Feinstein is the author of the poetry chapbook Life on Dodge (Brain Mill Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grist, Willow Springs, and Sugar House, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She received her MFA from Oregon State University. Twitter handle: @RitaFeinstein
 
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Life on Dodge by Rita Feinstein

In the olden days, women made whole planets of their problems.
Intrigued, the men sent probes, but the probes came back red.
What horror is this? cried the men. Back, beast, back!
So the women went back to the worlds they’d created,
ashamed of themselves and determined not to feel anything again,
but as long as they were on their planets, they were in pain.
They rusted like tinmen. They filled and emptied like trash.
At night, they dreamed they were pomegranates ripping open,
a thousand teardrops full of teeth. They thought they’d never escape,
but five days later a spaceship came to take them home.
From Earth, their planets looked so small, so insignificant.
They watched them disappear into deep space, forgetting
that all things must orbit. Each month, the planets returned.
They could sense them in the rising tides.


This selection comes from the book, Life on Dodge, available from Brain Mill Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

 Rita Feinstein is the author of the poetry chapbook Life on Dodge (Brain Mill Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grist, Willow Springs, and Sugar House, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She received her MFA from Oregon State University. Twitter handle: @RitaFeinstein
 
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Life on Dodge by Rita Feinstein

There are only three remedies in your pharmacy:
walk it off, sleep it off, and suck it up.
No ibuprofen or bromelain. No herbal teas.
Don’t even mention homeopathy. 
So nights when phantom cat claws
made a scratching post of my womb,
I rolled out of bed and breathed shallowly 
on the hardwood floor until the blood
found a comfortable rhythm. 
I could have woken you or cried out. 
You should have, you said. You said 
I should see a doctor. Your remedies
weren’t strong enough for me. No— 
I wasn’t strong enough for them. 



This selection comes from the book, Life on Dodge, available from Brain Mill Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

 Rita Feinstein is the author of the poetry chapbook Life on Dodge (Brain Mill Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grist, Willow Springs, and Sugar House, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She received her MFA from Oregon State University. Twitter handle: @RitaFeinstein
 
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Life on Dodge by Rita Feinstein

You have gone, and so can I.
I can go to a red planet
with no name, no coordinates.
There is no wind here, no dust,
nowhere to stake a flag. No rotation,
no view. No ocean under the crust
and no ice at the poles. There is
no gravity, no atmosphere,
and no one to name its craters.
There is not a robot to help repair
the spaceship I don’t have.
There are no giant worms in the sand.
There is no sand. There is nothing here
but not enough of it.


This selection comes from the book, Life on Dodge, available from Brain Mill Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

 Rita Feinstein is the author of the poetry chapbook Life on Dodge (Brain Mill Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grist, Willow Springs, and Sugar House, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She received her MFA from Oregon State University. Twitter handle: @RitaFeinstein
 
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Life on Dodge by Rita Feinstein

When you left, there was a sound
like the scraping of a dagger
being unsheathed from my heart,
and in the left-behind hollow,
a red bat came to roost.
Good, I thought, because bats go
where moths go and moths go
where the light is, which means
there’s still something like a streetlamp
in me, however dusty and guttering.
But where its corona bleeds to black,
you can still hear it—the sleek shriek
of steel against bone, the infinite echo
of you pulling away.


This selection comes from the book, Life on Dodge, available from Brain Mill Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

 Rita Feinstein is the author of the poetry chapbook Life on Dodge (Brain Mill Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grist, Willow Springs, and Sugar House, among other publications, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She received her MFA from Oregon State University. Twitter handle: @RitaFeinstein
 
Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Towns by Kathleen Kirk


Forgiveness in Lafayette

I believe I could let silkworms hug
the scarlet breath from the mulberry
choking the lilac in the northeast corner
of the yard, but isn’t that blood
vengeance? You tell me I need cold
reason, but reason isn’t cold,
and people grow heavy with what they carry,
with what they can’t undo. I dug
up the tulip bulbs on the north
this spring, where they didn’t want
to open; I’ll move them in September
to a spot beside the black-eyed Susans.
Let’s drive to Lafayette, let’s bite
the bullet, bury the hatchet, build
another bridge to nowheresville,
because that’s what people do, that’s
what people say. You think I’m lying
to you. Then the road bends.


This selection comes from the book, The Towns, available from Unicorn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as StirringRedheaded StepchildWaccamawNimrodPoetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Towns by Kathleen Kirk


Middletown

When we arrive, I am wavering
in my belief in myself as a woman
who knows enough to say no to a man
with real leather seats. Turning,
we pass a house with too many dogs.
I feel them at my throat clamor
for the gristle of my risen heart.
This man could ruin me, I could
ruin him. I know when we kiss
how soft my lips will seem to him,
how sharp the shadow on his chin.
I’m sure I’ve been here before: the road
curves around a tavern, eyeless
and bored, a red brick church, rubble
where once a house surprised its own
foundation, burning to the ground
after a woman shot her husband
in the chest, his palm prints on the barrel.


This selection comes from the book, The Towns, available from Unicorn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as StirringRedheaded StepchildWaccamawNimrodPoetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Towns by Kathleen Kirk


The Towns

In Gainesville once, we took a bus across town
to visit Rebel’s brother
and played in the fenced back yard
till it was time to go home.
A flood took my shoe, we were stranded
in a parking lot till the rain stopped.
Another day, we drove away
from the hurricane.
In Kearney, the President died.
A fireman came to the door
because my brother was playing with matches.
There was a blizzard.
We drove into the baseball field.
In Bloomington, the house was made of stucco,
just like the little green store in Gainesville.
I could not remember the piano song I had learned in Kearney.
On Linden Street road, in the blur between
two townships,
a man walked on the moon.
I stood under it and watched his shadow.
Raccoons built a nest in a tree.
Wind changed the shape of everything, cedars streaming north.
In London, I wrote letters,
classmates beat upon my back,
I made a cake wrapped in marzipan.
We ate slices of coconut on the street in Paris.
In Zurich, the water was clean.
We walked through the Olympic village,
Germany still a mystery.
Florence, the golden doors.
Murano, the blown glass.
Water took us there.
Then we came home, and I never wanted to leave.
Mabel is buried in Hudson.
Polly is buried in Leroy.


This selection comes from the book, The Towns, available from Unicorn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as StirringRedheaded StepchildWaccamawNimrodPoetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Towns by Kathleen Kirk


Housekeeping in Downs

I used to dust the candelabra
of a house in Downs with chamois
as yellow and easy as butter, a phrase
applied to me once, as an actress
(not an agile goat). That’s all
done now, and I don’t lament
the losses, these strawberries minced
all summer in the mown grass.
August has a torque of its own,
roiling toward a storm. The gutters
revoke their duty, cracked & rusted,
paint fingernailed away
by murderous time. It’s so Shakespearean,
summer in the Midwest. It’s hard
to make a living in the arts
(or as a goat herd). I thought I could
write poems and play small parts
but these horns tip backwards.


This selection comes from the book, The Towns, available from Unicorn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as StirringRedheaded StepchildWaccamawNimrodPoetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

 

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The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Towns by Kathleen Kirk

Rolling Stone 

The bandit John Murrel complained
about his bed -tick stuffed with corn
shucks, noisy as a new saddle!
In the end, weary, his mind broken,
he stumbled out the prison door
back into green wilderness,
mimosa and orange tree, never
to gloat again by candlelight
or brown whiskey. The owl outside
my own window begs for his life
in strange cold notes that crease
the will to a mere document, a legal
prayer. It’s too late to finish
what we started. No gray mouse
expects to ride so high, the night
gaping—a sudden cavern. The owl
lays a vertical table. Everything
born wants to eat. Hear
the red blare of the trumpet flower
hedging its bets in this mythical town.


This selection comes from the book, The Towns, available from Unicorn Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Alex DiFrancesco.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as StirringRedheaded StepchildWaccamawNimrodPoetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.

Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin HouseThe Washington PostPacific StandardVol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
 

 

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