The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Constellation of Freckles by Keri Withington


You Are My Calendar

The smell of Sundays when you shave
Bone-handled brush sweeping over cheekbones, chin
Face smooth under my lips, fingers
I could recognize you by your skin.


Days pass, and your stubble sands my face as we kiss
Accentuate your movements, explore me
Mark days by growth, delicious rough caress
Moving to Friday’s softness again.


By Saturday the scent of wood-shavings
and sweets is submerged in your skin
Surrounds me, stains the pillows and sheets.
I breathe you in.


I mark my days by you.

This selection comes from Constellation of Freckles, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Keri Withington is an Appalachian based poet and educator. Her work has previously appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.Her first chapbook is Constellation of Freckles from Dancing Girl Press. Her second chapbook, Beckoning From the Waves, is forthcoming from Plan B Press. As well as writing, Withington is an assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College. Her writing explores themes of feminism, family, and nature.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Constellation of Freckles by Keri Withington


Secret City

House, kids, dogs: I’m settled now. Situated
though I’ve moved so many times I can’t remember addresses,
phone numbers, roommate names. Cosmic rays bathed my airplanes;
starlight saturated my dented water bottle.


My grandmother kept her house in Atlanta ‘til she was ninety.
She attributed her health to an apply a day, her fear of doctors,
the Diet Coke and frosting tub she kept in her walker’s basket. She stayed
active bird-watching, gossiping, eating Varsity hot dogs.


School district, fenced yard, hardwood floors: we bought
our house for the family friendly area, affordable price tag, the right
number of bedrooms. The radioactive materials in our town are among the
most concentrated in the world. The labs world-known.


We swim in our own radioactive waste.
The lakes have No Fishing signs; the fish have three eyes
or none at all. The algae spreads too quickly, chokes wildlife and boat
motors. Plants trap spilt mercury, grow toxic.


Swing-sets, greenways, imported sand: we take
Our kids to the lake, enjoy the city’s parks. My kitchen still
has a microwave, we still screw in fluorescent
light bulb. But we avoid GMOs, eat organic.


The same birds my grandmother fed every morning
migrate up the Appalachians, flock at the lakeshore, peck seeds
from my porch. My kids find their abandoned nests, unhatched eggs, collect
them with crystal shale, misshapen acorns.

This selection comes from Constellation of Freckles, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Keri Withington is an Appalachian based poet and educator. Her work has previously appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.Her first chapbook is Constellation of Freckles from Dancing Girl Press. Her second chapbook, Beckoning From the Waves, is forthcoming from Plan B Press. As well as writing, Withington is an assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College. Her writing explores themes of feminism, family, and nature.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Constellation of Freckles by Keri Withington


Grace

Pull up a pew. If a pew won’t
do, if the back cramps, pull
up anything.


Leave Calvin out of it.


Or don’t. We wander, finger
Dogwood buds, petals pink
or white, curled tight as
fists.


I count by twos
blades of grass between
bare toes,
acorns.


You count crosses in tree
bark, portraits in
cumulus,
signs.


Plasma burns either way.
27 million degrees over every
church door, pagoda, temple.


Star
-light travels just as far
to monophyletic Redwoods,
cyanobacteria blooms,
synchronized fireflies.


I gather constellations of
freckles, swallow songs,
alpine strawberries.


We are alive here.

This selection comes from Constellation of Freckles, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Keri Withington is an Appalachian based poet and educator. Her work has previously appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.Her first chapbook is Constellation of Freckles from Dancing Girl Press. Her second chapbook, Beckoning From the Waves, is forthcoming from Plan B Press. As well as writing, Withington is an assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College. Her writing explores themes of feminism, family, and nature.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby

On the nights when my body loves itself
enough to let it sleep


I lower myself into myself and pick a fight
with your memory,


never mind that you’re asleep right next to me,
your curls a comet of sparks spread


soft on the sheets, I’m just that gaga greedy –
but as I click back


through my mind trying to find
the nectarine cast of your throat


mid-laugh as I chase you
past the lace of shacks and moat


or to the cherry chaw of the morning I met you
your body a comma behind the Carolina dew,


my mind dives instead to 3:35 on the canopy road
driving because I need to cry


without facing you, or to the garage where I smoke
out the voice of the nursery school


saying you don’t fit in with the group.
Eventually I realize


I can’t let anything go
not even the bluegold beetles I keep seeing


on the side of the road. I don’t know

if they’re dead or the just the shed sac

of a body now afloat. It’s all volcano,
liquid shriek all around me, and I know

if I could just soak in the lavender spurt
of the laundry, or lose myself in the apple dream

of the grocery, I could stave off the lava,
keep alive the illusion of in utero. Instead I lie

a liquid berm burning beside your shadow.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


Motherhood (Exhibit A)

God gave me my anger as a gift and now
I only want the pity of a martini.


Mothers we cannot expect to maintain
our melt. I preach release but my dad used


to fold foil into wands so I could


fairy and I still only believe, but
could never be, magic. I know how

to hold my hit in while my son searches
the groove in my breast, burned by a pot

seed when I was 16, for the just sprigged
parts of me, for the blossoms to bunch

to his teeth. The chapped daisies of my hands
sap his dream. I say This is how you sleep

I say dissolve your brain from your body
I say you may not recognize mommy

on the other side of reality.
And this is where he giggles says it’s easy

as if nothing is inevitable

as his cheek giving the moon a surface to be.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

Lyric Essentials: Wendy Videlock Reads Virginia Hamilton Adair

Welcome back to Lyric Essentials! This week, Wendy Videlock is joining us to share the work of the poet Virginia Hamilton Adair and discuss the natural world around us, the vivacious language and choices made in these poems, and experimentation. Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you next time!


Ashley Hajimirsadeghi: Why did you choose these poems?

Wendy Videlock: I think they really represent Virginia Hamilton-Adair’s style, range and thematic interests. And of course they’re some of my favorites of hers. She really knows how to surprise the reader, how to pace a poem, how to pack a punch, how to avert our expectation. In “Keyring,” those first two lines, “My grandfather, when he was very old, / to one small room confined,/ gave me a bunch of his keys to hold.” assure us we are in good hands — the syntax, compression, and sonic interests alert us to that right away. Though she chooses a common subject, (one’s grandfather) she treats the subject uniquely, rendering the rather common subject uncommon indeed. And that close! Perfection. She embodies in this piece the diction, tone, and wonder of a child, and that “chuckling sound” the keys make is just a brilliant touch. She seems to work with what Frost called ‘the ghost of meter’ and often ends her poems on a note of mystery that widens, rather than closes off, or confirms our view. I think this little poem really exemplifies that.

“Yea Though I Walk” is a potent little piece with three discernible turns. I’m very drawn to a poetic that’s interested in pacing, that can equally surprise, delight, and devastate. She begins by lulling us into a pastoral scene, with sweet little lambs bobbing along and rather romantic perceptions of shepherding —then leads us to a stark reminder of efficiency, hunger, even cruelty: a wounded lamb unable to keep up, is left by the road we are told, its hooves wired together. The speaker imagines the shepherd returning that evening to collect his dinner. She then switches register again, panning out to a wider view, reflecting more meditatively, “The good shepherd of myths, psalms, and parable/ have always made me uneasy. / Something wrong there, leading me / however gently, to the slaughter”. This describes not only the shepherd and the lamb of course, but also how the poem leads us along with its shifting registers and perceptions — adding yet another layer of engagement to this devastating little poem.

Wendy Videlock Reads “Keyring” by Virginia Hamilton Adair

AH: What was your first experience with this poet’s work?

WV: I was given an anthology by a friend a few years ago called Poets of the American West, edited by Robert Mezey, and discovered one slim and wily little poem of hers called “Mojave Evening.” In it she closes the poem by describing coyotes at dusk this way: “their eyes coming out to hunt/ like all the other stars’. Again a common subject given remarkably uncommon treatment. I was hooked.

Wendy Videlock Reads “Yea Though I Walk” by Virginia Hamilton Adair

AH: Adair’s work is often inspired by the world that was around her. What has been inspiring you lately?

WV: Yes, I’m invested in the natural world as well, the character of the landscape, the wildlife, the changing skies, the cosmos. I’ve been experimenting a lot with prose lately, and testing the boundaries of genre bending, of specialty blending, of literary integrations and the imagination. So many marvelous opportunities for metaphor, intimacy, wordplay and surprising new insights. A writer never has enough time. One of my disappointments in the modern poetic is that it often goes straight for the cerebral, the hyper-ironic, the center stage “I” and the poet’s intention being its central purpose —very often neglecting the enchantment of song, the natural world, the elements, the very facts and shared understandings of our existence. Adair reminds us that poetry’s roots are in song, and that none of those things need be sacrificed in service of the poem.

AH: What have you been up to lately? Got any news to share?

WV: My upcoming book, The Poetic Imagination: A Worthy Difficulty is a collection of new and previously published essays, reviews, and prosimetrum (known in eastern tradition as haibun) on the elusive nature of language, landscape, the imagination, and the often misunderstood nature of verse craft or prosody. I’ve also got a new book of poems I’m readying for publication. I think both should be out by the end of the year or early in 2022.


Wendy Videlock lives in a small agricultural town on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.  Her work appears in Hudson Review, Poetry, Dark Horse, The New York Times, Best American Poetry, and other venues.  Her books are available from Able Muse Press. Her upcoming collection of essays, The Poetic Imaginarium: A Worthy Difficulty, will appear in the fall of 2021. To see more of Wendy’s work, please visit: www.wendyvidelock.com, or tune in to this recent webinar she did with Tim Green, editor of Rattlehttps://youtu.be/OheIJ9Gg3C8

Read some of Wendy’s work at Poetry here.

Discover her full-length collection Slingshots and Love Plums at Able Muse Press.

Virginia Hamilton Adair was an American poet. Originally, she published a few pieces from the 1930s to 1950s, but then took a break that spanned fifty years. After this break, she found acclaim with her poetry during the last decade of her life. At eighty-three years old and after she had gone blind, her first poetry collection Ants on the Melon: A Collection of Poems was published in 1996. Over her lifetime, she had written over a thousand poems.

Read her poem “Buckroe, After the Season, 1942” here.

Find her poetry collection “Beliefs and Blasphemies” here.

Read more of her work at The New Yorker.

Ashley Hajimirsadeghi is a multimedia artist and writer. She has had work appear, or forthcoming, in Into the Void Magazine, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and The Shore, among others. She currently reads for Mud Season Review and EX/POST Magazine, is the Playwriting & Director’s Apprentice at New Perspectives Theatre Company, was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow, and is the co-Editor in Chief of Juven Press. More of her work can be found at ashleyhajimirsadeghi.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


To My Son, Who Just Heard Me Scream Fuck

and turned to me for a hug, I’m sorry I keep confusing
me for the goddess of electricity. Imagine your mama


in charge of the parse of light and dark, lightning bolts
shivering down both arms whenever I want the night


to sputter or the sky to rip apart. To unleash
myself in a vector of heat – Son I am angry


that I am not the sun that reaches your cheeks.
I am f-star furious that I can’t blend those binaries,


And yes this is about more than astronomy (although
you have to agree that as a star I would hang


but perfectly) This is about America’s hard-on
for atrocity, and your mama’s sugar/fire/need


to plug those geysers of white male greed. It’s true.
I infringe. I jostle. I say irrevocable things.


All to cage you in. You see I think I can make you
forget I don’t fibrillate the wind. Son, the way


condensation clasps the glass is how I will rise
inevitably to the surface of your life –


not as some womb of weather, snow cocked
like a weapon, but silent as the brine that coats


your tendons, as the grope of muscle to skin.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

Poetry is Good Company: A Conversation with Wendy Carlisle on Her Second Poetry Collection Discount Fireworks

Doubleback Review Social Media Intern, Bethany Milholland, asked Wendy Carlisle to participate in an interview about her poetry collection Discount Fireworks. A hymn to the landscape of Carlisle’s native Arkansas, the subjects of these poems range from Greek myths to motherhood to a high school shooting. Timeless yet personal, Discount Fireworks is an ode to self-discovery and the beauty of finding one’s home.

Bethany Milholland: What does the poetry collection Discount Fireworks mean to you? 

Wendy Carlisle: This collection was my second, completed five years after I had finished my MFA in Vermont, and after a fruitful residency on the West Bank of New Orleans. My wonderful publisher Jacaranda Press folded immediately after it was published, alas. I love this book because it was a watershed for me. It marked, I think, my passage into poetry-for-sure.

BM: How long did it take to write and what was the process like?

WC: These poems were collected over almost 8 years. I found poems that I believed spoke to one another, and added to the sum of the book, then sent them to my editor. She weighed in, and we began again. This process took about 6 months. The final book opens with thinning glaciers and closes with Hurricane Katrina but in-between, it contains everything from vampires to Bible stories. I am surprised now by how many forms are here, from faux sonnets (the precursors of my Ozark Sonnets) to syllabics. The thing that clinched the collection for me was that the individual poems said something I wanted to hear.

BM: Who or what do you find inspiration from? 

WC: I am inspired by other Arkansas poets, Jo McDougall, Arkansas’s poet laureate, my first teacher Miller Williams, and that giant of Arkansas letters, C.D. Wright. I just discovered Laura Kasischke, that was like finding gold. Kim Addonizio continues to be an inspiration and my poetic practice has been built on the foundation of my friendship with the late Phillip Dacey,who continually reminded me about the bone work of poetry, showing up.

BM: Can you tell me about the front cover? 

WC: The cover is Discount Fireworks, a 1985 painting by a first-rate Arkansas artist, Robert McGehee, from Paris, Arkansas. I lived with the painting for over a decade when it occurred to me it would make a great cover for my book-in-progress. After that standing at the kitchen counter, I wrote the first draft of the poem “Discount Fireworks” in a flash.

BM: What is poetry to you?

WC: Poetry is good company. Poetry is hard work. Poetry is laughter. Poetry is a soul stretcher, a teacher of compassion. It animates wit. I seek poetry out, and we have a cup of coffee. We walk in the woods and look for morels. Outside of my family, poetry is the great love of my life.

BM: Do you consider yourself a regionalist author? Why? 

WC: In Discount Fireworks, the subjects of the poems range from Greek myths to motherhood to a high school shooting, but I’ve lived in Arkansas for 45 years and everything I write is touched by its wind and water, its patois and the rocky Ozark soil. Its people speak through me. I can’t say if I’m a regionalist, but I expect so.

BM: Do you have any advice for beginning poets?

WC: Don’t come to poetry expecting to be noticed. Come expecting to work hard for no money and meagre rewards. Come because you cannot help yourself. Come for the sheer joy of making something that didn’t exist before. Read and read and read poetry. Don’t worry about being influenced by other poets. If you can write like Emily Dickinson, do that. And don’t be above the scut work of poetry—the mishigas of submission and rejection. In the end, expect to give everything you have to poetry, but don’t expect poetry to give you back anything but jubilation.

BM: What was the most meaningful poem to you in the collection and why?

WC: That question reminds me of, “who is your favorite child.” But, if I have to say, the book contains one of my first love poems to my husband, “La Bamba Dance Club.” It was a nice surprise to write that.


Bethany Milholland is a senior at The University of Evansville majoring in Creative Writing. She is the former Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Evansville Review. She is also a former intern for her university’s magazine The Crescent. In her spare time, she enjoys earning a cat’s love and shopping at every thrift store within a thirty-mile radius.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle was born in Manhattan, raised in Bermuda, Connecticut and Ft Lauderdale, Florida and now lives in the Arkansas Ozarks in a house she built in 1980. She has an MA from the University of Arkansas and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of The Mercy of Traffic (Unlikely Books, 2019), Discount Fireworks (Jacaranda Press, 2008) and Reading Berryman to the Dog (Jacaranda Press, 2000.) Chapbooks include They Went to the Beach to Play (Locofo Chaps, 2016), Chap Book (Platypus Press, 2016), Persephone on the Metro (MadHat press, 2014), The Storage of Angels (Slow Water Press, 2008), and After Happily Ever After (Two River Chapbooks, 2003.) Her work appears in multiple anthologies.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


The Neighbors Invite Us To Church

and lest we forget the petrified
look on my face the downtown
sprinklers ajazz all around me, my son
more abuzz than June
on the concrete,


let us conjure the fear that freckled my face that day.

How many of us crumple
as if God were a gust that could knock us down
with an accident of touch?
I am not sure


I want my son to see that side of Him


– his feet tucked beneath a pew,
his tongue tucked beneath a hymn –


when right now God is everything.

I still want him
to feel the thorn glut his forehead to stich his skin
nail-numb to loop his mouth around
the language of crucifixion


but at what cost the blazer buried
prayer the pulpit plunk resounding
louder than the robin
beak drilling song into air?

My son’s face puddles in the fountain’s reflection
a trillion versions of him

blend and dreg.
I nod politely and say
I will never be ready to give religion
circumference

let God be
a lily pad instead
a pulse on the water
a point of departure

: a green without end.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby by Alexa Doran


I Am Failing You

Here, you can see it in my hands the
way when air fails smoke it wends ash.
A mother’s silence has velocity, wing
speed and at thirty I am still learning
to speak. I say hurdle but mean throat.
I mean sincerely you can jump right
over me, stun me with dust and I will
still bunny-go. Son I already have so
many roles. Dust buster, kiss crafter,
forever disciple of my dance teacher
Ms. Trudeau. I know. I know. Morning
becomes a chalice when least expected
so why can’t I resurrect into something
you can sip on the go? My mother used
to pause the screen on all the ice skating
queens as they waited for their number
to glow – you can’t fake grace – there!
Watch her sparkle shot lips fold, her too
big eyes glimpse God, her bun twitch
against the faux snow. What I mean is
climb up on the moss with me. As equals
in this quiver of ether, we can bereave the
mother-child trope. What I mean is melt
into the peat, use your ankles to breathe,
the bog is not a (b)rink for us to glacier
each other’s heat – No. it doesn’t matter
in what order we grow. Graze your first
taste of champagne, now
touch your toes.


This selection comes from Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby, available from Bottlecap Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and Permafrost, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at https://aed16e.wixsite.com/alexadoranpoet.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at kimberlyannpriest.com.