The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Animal At Your Side by Megan Alpert


IN WOLF COUNTRY

I give you what the wolves left:
a tooth on a leather strap, a few stray
hairs I found stuck to a tree, skull
of a deer the dogs found and licked clean.


Wild dogs, you say, coyotes,
not wolves. You want to transition
without symbols. I trace the sickle scars
where your breasts were, where no one


has ever touched you yet.
They shine in the moonlight—streetlight—
through the window. Later, I thumb
the hairs on your razor and press


my cheek to the rough place
they came from. Sorry, you say, I’ll shave
again, and I watch through the mirror
as you file the points down from your teeth.

This selection comes from The Animal at Your Side, available from Airlie Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Megan Alpert grew up in the suburbs of New York City and has since lived in St. Paul, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, and Quito, Ecuador. She is the recipient of an Orlando Poetry Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and the Marquette Chamber Residency. As a journalist, Alpert has received fellowships from Foreign Policy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has worked as a sandwich maker, bookseller, child caregiver, ESL teacher, journalist, and editor.

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: The Animal At Your Side by Megan Alpert


MY AUNT THE ARTIST, THE LIAR

On the path behind the house, we found the teeth,
but no sign of the corresponding jaw—


whatever had been forced down to earth
had been knocked or dragged elsewhere.

My aunt rattled the teeth
in her cupped palm. Sunlight dropped


a dryness in my mouth—
she was not the kind to tell the truth.

A woman, she said, the teeth
were small, like from a woman’s mouth,


and she knelt, pulled down to earth,
her fingers nosed the dirt for further proof.


(My aunt’s little rented piece of earth,
a house to make her crazy paintings in.)


They weren’t animal teeth. I ran my tongue
along the blank spots in my mouth.


She’d try them in her own mouth
at parties, she told me later, cradling my jaw,


Little one, we rent ourselves from earth.

This selection comes from The Animal at Your Side, available from Airlie Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Megan Alpert grew up in the suburbs of New York City and has since lived in St. Paul, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, and Quito, Ecuador. She is the recipient of an Orlando Poetry Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and the Marquette Chamber Residency. As a journalist, Alpert has received fellowships from Foreign Policy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has worked as a sandwich maker, bookseller, child caregiver, ESL teacher, journalist, and editor.

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: The Animal At Your Side by Megan Alpert


DAWN

My sister comes home
smelling of dirt she was buried in,
dandelion milk under her nails.


We wash her arms,
scrub her fingers
with stinging soap,
but still she is not clean.


When she finally speaks,
it’s to hand me that trowel
and I’ll bury the seeds


while upstairs our grandmother
paces the attic.


Will I wake anywhere
besides this house,
or love anyone ever
beyond my sister
with the skinned knees?


I wake again in the garden
crushing stems against my teeth.

This selection comes from The Animal at Your Side, available from Airlie Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Megan Alpert grew up in the suburbs of New York City and has since lived in St. Paul, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, and Quito, Ecuador. She is the recipient of an Orlando Poetry Prize from A Room of Her Own Foundation and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Studios at MASS MoCA, and the Marquette Chamber Residency. As a journalist, Alpert has received fellowships from Foreign Policy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. She has worked as a sandwich maker, bookseller, child caregiver, ESL teacher, journalist, and editor.

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: Our Debatable Bodies by Marisa Crane


A MAN AT A PARTY TELLS US HE VOTES REPUBLICAN BUT
ASSURES US HE IS SOCIALLY LIBERAL

at the end of the night
my wife & I call a car
& we are silent during the ride
when we get home
we brush our debatable teeth
wash our debatable faces
undress our debatable bodies
in bed we practice remembrance
we rub our inconsolable
legs together the melody,
an assertion
of our reality
outside our window
the crickets join in
& it is beautiful
just the way elegies
ought to be

This selection comes from Our Debatable Bodies, available from Animal Heart Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Marisa Crane is a queer, nonbinary writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Catapult, The Florida Review, F(r)iction, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A graduate of Tin House’s 2020 Winter & Summer Workshops, she is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press 2019), and she serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife and baby.

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: Our Debatable Bodies by Marisa Crane


YAPPING DOGS

yapping dogs i understand you sometimes i want
to fucking scream for no perceivable reason
& sometimes people tell me to get over it
to choose my battles haven’t you ever knocked
over a bottle of nice scotch & wondered what
the drunk ants talk about when they aren’t working
themselves into a dizzying haze? no anxiety
is too small it’s common to have to convince
flowers to bloom i know this because as a child
i sat on my grandfather’s lap & asked if giving
up was the same as dying & his response was
a fully-loaded sigh the gunpowder white & suspicious
could have been from a powdered doughnut but i know
the difference between passivity & gluttony five years later
i had a crush on a girl named kristin i asked her
the same question i asked my grandfather &
she said fruit grows faster if you feed it the truth
so i sat under an orange tree & shot off
confessions like catholic bullets i dreamt kristin & i were
slow dancing on clouds now i can no longer look
at her when she speaks i know the meaning of unrest
how it slithers up your spine like a snake & licks
the base of your skull i cannot tell if i am more
spinal column or fluid ice isn’t afraid of its multiple
selves it melts when it discovers that bravery
isn’t about the sword you bear then it flows
like a charmed dream unconcerned with being forgotten

This selection comes from Our Debatable Bodies, available from Animal Heart Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Marisa Crane is a queer, nonbinary writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Catapult, The Florida Review, F(r)iction, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A graduate of Tin House’s 2020 Winter & Summer Workshops, she is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press 2019), and she serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife and baby.

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: Our Debatable Bodies by Marisa Crane


FOR TONIGHT WE ATTEND A FERTILITY SEMINAR

I am terrified of having a child. There,
I said it. Is the fear gone yet? Has it grown
twinkle toes & danced off stage? You seem
so confident, so steady. I want to hold
on to you as I rock to & fro. Don’t be alarmed
if I vomit over the side railing. Yesterday
I set up my new record player & cried when I broke
a piece of it off. Of course, my tears
weren’t for the plastic. If I can’t assemble this shit,
how will I ever keep a human alive? I choked.
You wrapped me in your arms, but still I felt cold.
I am made of impractical atoms. They buzz about clumsily,
like June Bugs. My blood spills here & everywhere.
Our child will soon inherit the mess I made. Babe,
a confession disguised as an observation: post-baby our dynamic
will change. You will have less time for me—
of that I am certain. I have a nasty habit of measuring life
by the losses. There will be times in which
you say I love you & I will mistakenly
think you are talking to me. I will mourn
the sentiments that are not mine to keep.
This morning: You wandered into the kitchen,
eyes full of blue light. You looked at me
as if I’d spent all night building a tower to the sky—
absolutely dazzled. I worry I will become
less remarkable around the baby. A face you’ve grown
used to. God, I hate that phrase. It makes me want to
dig my own grave & sneak naps when you
aren’t looking, until I am more asleep than awake,
until I am so close to death that I hold myself a wake.
Once you give birth, your precious eyes will shoot
in a new direction. How pathetic I am to act
as if there is only room for one
cannon ball in your arsenal.

This selection comes from Our Debatable Bodies, available from Animal Heart Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Marisa Crane is a queer, nonbinary writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Catapult, The Florida Review, F(r)iction, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A graduate of Tin House’s 2020 Winter & Summer Workshops, she is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press 2019), and she serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife and baby.

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: Our Debatable Bodies by Marisa Crane


WE DON’T GET TO CHOOSE WHO WE LOVE BUT WE DO GET
TO CHOOSE WHETHER WE REJECT OR EMBRACE THAT LOVE

I could have stayed
hollow, but instead I chose
a bellyful
of your dreams & a handwritten sign
that reads: Guess how
many are inside. My coworkers folded
their guesses & folded their guesses
until they disappeared altogether. Some
set the memory on fire. Others
demanded to know where I’d gotten
all those beautiful dreams. I shrugged
& said, I found them. The office party
sucked that year. No one spiked
the punch because it wasn’t a movie
& the winner never showed.
I stayed home with you. I made it
all worth it. The evenings when
our feelings came running like
a herd of blue wildebeests
even though the only threat
to our becoming
was what we might fail to do,
if given the chance to
choose safety over truth. Remember,
the future is not safe. It, too, becomes
a victim of the past. What we have
is the here
& now. You kiss my shoulder,
& before I can confess that it is
inexcusably dry, you are warming
the lotion between your hands. You have given
me so much that I would have never
taken for myself. To you, I give my lips,
my tongue, my eyes, my rest of my life.

This selection comes from Our Debatable Bodies, available from Animal Heart Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Marisa Crane is a queer, nonbinary writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Catapult, The Florida Review, F(r)iction, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A graduate of Tin House’s 2020 Winter & Summer Workshops, she is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press 2019), and she serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife and baby.

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: Our Debatable Bodies by Marisa Crane


WHO IS THE BOY & WHO IS THE GIRL?


So glad you asked. I am the great
white shark & she is the brilliant
octopus & you are just as intrusive
as the man on the street
who complimented my muscular arms
then reassured me that
I still look like a woman.
Listen, I sink my sharp teeth into the meat
of her ass. Her tentacles touch me in places
I hadn’t known existed. It is a dual act
of delicious discovery, & it is
none of your fucking business.

This selection comes from Our Debatable Bodies, available from Animal Heart Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Marisa Crane is a queer, nonbinary writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Catapult, The Florida Review, F(r)iction, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. A graduate of Tin House’s 2020 Winter & Summer Workshops, she is the author of the poetry chapbook, Our Debatable Bodies (Animal Heart Press 2019), and she serves as a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she currently lives in San Diego with her wife and baby.

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: Studies of Familiar Birds by Carrie Green


The Last Time My Father Left the House

In the grove, next year’s citrus
hung leaf-green on trees,

and this year’s oranges
brightened branches

or the ground where they had fallen.
We should have known

it was too late, the fruit easing
past ripeness.

We should have left them
for the ants and birds.

White blossoms veiled
the scent of sugar

turning. Bees droned
inside the blooms, dizzy

with the promise
of more sweetness.

This selection comes from Studies of Familiar Birds, available from Able Muse Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Carrie Green’s book, Studies of Familiar Birds, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press in December 2020. She earned her MFA at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Northwest, River Styx, Flyway, Blackbird, Cave Wall, DIAGRAM, and many other journals. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and works as a reference librarian in a public library.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe and the Non-Fiction Editor of Doubleback Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Selkie Literary Magazine, and Writing Class Radio. She’s currently an MFA Nonfiction candidate at Vermont College of Fine Art and lives in Riverview, Florida.
 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Studies of Familiar Birds by Carrie Green


Fever

The quilt Virginia huddles beneath
is too blue—Delft blue, not sky.
It is not her quilt, but it is her quilt.

That window opens too wide—
she’s shivering; someone shut it, please.
It is not her window, but it is her window.

And the girl leaning over her—
a slender curving beak
interrupts her face,

and chestnut down blooms
like moss over her skin—
she is and isn’t Genevieve.

Don’t move, Virginia, don’t
startle her. Feel the kiss
of her bill against your cheek.

The feathers trimming her skirt
silence its rustle. She cannot speak,
Virginia, but maybe she will sing.

This selection comes from Studies of Familiar Birds, available from Able Muse Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Carrie Green’s book, Studies of Familiar Birds, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press in December 2020. She earned her MFA at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Northwest, River Styx, Flyway, Blackbird, Cave Wall, DIAGRAM, and many other journals. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and works as a reference librarian in a public library.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe and the Non-Fiction Editor of Doubleback Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Selkie Literary Magazine, and Writing Class Radio. She’s currently an MFA Nonfiction candidate at Vermont College of Fine Art and lives in Riverview, Florida.