The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lineage by Emily Holland

The Glory of Women

on sunday mornings you sing
glory to god & it’s palm sunday
there’s more singing more holy water
incense scattered down pews to tuck
everyone into place this palm sunday
it carries you up to the altar
where a wafer floats on incense
to your tongue—everyone in line
& you can’t remember the altar
or the body of christ or
the hand that put it on your tongue
you’re thinking about Her
body between your thighs & how
you want to grow a palm tree out back
& you think you’ll fold the fronds
into a thousand tiny crosses the palm
tree is only yours when She’s not looking—
a thousand whispers when She sings

This selection comes from the book, Lineage, available from Dancing Girl Press & Studio.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano .

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet pursuing her MFA at American University. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and two Pushcart Prizes. She has work appearing or forthcoming in publications including bedfellows, Screen Door Review, FOLIO, and Nat. Brut. Her poems explore themes of queerness, place, familial lineage, and investigate the Southern pastoral. She works at The Writer’s Center, where she is currently the managing editor for Poet Lore.

Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway PoetryTupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.

 
 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lineage by Emily Holland

Beta vulgaris

I.
Your hands covered
in beet juice, I can see it
everywhere—here
you were: fever splotches
on the counter, door knob, knife
handle; all those
chopped pieces bleeding
in the bowl.
II.
White, like the sugar beet,
you said, tracing roots
down my forearms. The heat
something awful,
summer like a bruise,
sweat sweet enough to crave.
III.
Tattooed a beetroot
on your arm—it extends
the length of your triceps,
fluffy crown set in black
and white, round bulb
rooted above the hinge
of your elbow—just visible
under your summer shirts.
Proof that not all red
things are blood: love
not the only thing
buried before you hold it.
Amuse-Bouche
The oysters were shucked,
lined up on a platter of ice,
her hands still salty
with brine when she tipped
one into your mouth.
It went down so easily,
the way warm water oysters always do,
sweet melon trail on your tongue.
And next—artichokes: she peeled
the thorns away, steam
floating around her fingers
as if she were a heat source,
skipped the inner leaves,
scraped away fibrous choke
and went right for the heart.

This selection comes from the book, Lineage, available from Dancing Girl Press & Studio.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano .

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet pursuing her MFA at American University. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and two Pushcart Prizes. She has work appearing or forthcoming in publications including bedfellows, Screen Door Review, FOLIO, and Nat. Brut. Her poems explore themes of queerness, place, familial lineage, and investigate the Southern pastoral. She works at The Writer’s Center, where she is currently the managing editor for Poet Lore.

Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway PoetryTupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.

 
 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lineage by Emily Holland

Why I Can’t Say the Word Lesbian Without Thinking of My Therapist


At Sarah’s thirteenth birthday party, someone
said Your mom is—what
Your mom is—sinner
is abomination is
the thing God warned us about.
There must be something
in the blood insoluble—
how it turns red when touched by oxygen,
we, too, turn from God
when touched
by someone like her.
. . .
Prom night, after dancing, someone said
Your sister is—what
Your sister is—acting different
cut her beautiful brown hair
down to the root,
pruned it back
so far it might not grow again,
acting less feminine, more
in control.
. . .
My first year at college
someone said You are—what
You are—lesbo
descendant of dyke,
divergence in a long lineage
of choice. Tainted bloodline.
Desire never matters here.
These are the choices passed down to us. To be
or to become
or to have always been.
These are what we call signs only
in hindsight:
smell of bubblegum chapstick sharing a sleeping bag
tasting a drop of her sweat after a scuffle on the court
wanting to hold her hand yes but what

This selection comes from the book, Lineage, available from Dancing Girl Press & Studio.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano .

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet pursuing her MFA at American University. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and two Pushcart Prizes. She has work appearing or forthcoming in publications including bedfellows, Screen Door Review, FOLIO, and Nat. Brut. Her poems explore themes of queerness, place, familial lineage, and investigate the Southern pastoral. She works at The Writer’s Center, where she is currently the managing editor for Poet Lore.

Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway PoetryTupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.

 
 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lineage by Emily Holland

My Mom Dated A Boy

My mom dated
a boy whose family
was in the mafia,
which means
on their dates down
the road to get
softserve at Humdinger
he’d pass off
a new stereo
or a gold watch
to help the trail
run cold.
Maybe this soured
her on boys:
maybe she knew
she liked girls
then—the one
taking their order
swirling ice cream
better on her
cone than his,
getting the cherry
dip just right. Only
one drip fell
on her thumb;
she was quick
to lick it off
before he could.

This selection comes from the book, Lineage, available from Dancing Girl Press & Studio.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano .

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet pursuing her MFA at American University. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and two Pushcart Prizes. She has work appearing or forthcoming in publications including bedfellows, Screen Door Review, FOLIO, and Nat. Brut. Her poems explore themes of queerness, place, familial lineage, and investigate the Southern pastoral. She works at The Writer’s Center, where she is currently the managing editor for Poet Lore.

Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway PoetryTupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.

 
 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Lineage by Emily Holland

Geophagia
You say the smell of pavement after it rains
is how dirt tastes down South and I ask
what dirt because the South I know doesn’t have dirt,
it has red clay. You say it was white dirt you ate
after you saw some of the older folks in town
eating white dirt and it was just something everyone did.
I don’t know about white dirt, but I know about clay
and I know clay doesn’t taste like anything
once you mold it into bowls and let it dry in the sun
so you can drink rainwater from the Twelve Mile Creek.
Clay ain’t white, you say, and I tell you I never ate clay
and you ask why and I say because no one else did.

This selection comes from the book, Lineage, available from Dancing Girl Press & Studio.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Natalie Giarratano .

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet pursuing her MFA at American University. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and two Pushcart Prizes. She has work appearing or forthcoming in publications including bedfellows, Screen Door Review, FOLIO, and Nat. Brut. Her poems explore themes of queerness, place, familial lineage, and investigate the Southern pastoral. She works at The Writer’s Center, where she is currently the managing editor for Poet Lore.

Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway PoetryTupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.