I have learned to crawl backward into the wilderness

Rachael McKibbens’ new collection blud was not an easy read in the best sense; it is, as its very name suggests, nakedly intense and beautiful.

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salvage

I have learned to need the body
I spent years trying to rid the world of

have learned to cherish its pale rebel hymn
warped by ghost heat, carried, carried

by all my loyal dead. I have learned
to crawl backward into the wilderness

to ask, to eat, to steep in your gentleness.
Let this be where I permit forgiveness

to know your name, to leave our crulest years
where & how we need them most–

behind & unlit.

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There’s a name for the animal love makes of us

Nicole Sealey’s beautifully unflinching exploration of life, death, and the marrow between keeps moving to the top of my stack this April. You can find this poem in her chapbook, The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Namedher collection Ordinary Beast will be out this fall.

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“Object Permanence”
(For John)

We wake as if surprised the other is still there,
each petting the sheet to be sure.

How have we managed our way
to this bed—beholden to heat like dawn

indebted to light. Though we’re not so self-
important as to think everything

has led to this, everything has led to this.
There’s a name for the animal

love makes of us—named, I think,
like rain, for the sound it makes.

You are the animal after whom other animals
are named. Until there’s none left to laugh,

days will start with the same startle
and end with caterpillars gorged on milkweed.

O, how we entertain the angels
with our brief animation. O,

how I’ll miss you when we’re dead.

We aren’t in our bodies these days.

Hello, dear readers, and apologies for the radio silence. Today a friend introduced me to the work of Lilah Hegnauer, and I wanted to share this particularly gorgeous poem that captivated me from the title onwards.

“I am the city and you are my work of great mischief.”

The way the summer lasted, the way we flung our bodies on the bed,
the way you said in the morning, I couldn’t sleep because my neck

was touching my neck, the way our grief flooded under the doors,
the way we whispered through the fans’ motors. Such mangoes

en flambé we’d meant to mark this summer, too, excruciating.
And then, tonight, so tipping in our chairs, at last, so chilled,

so shutting windows in a flurry, the way you heaved your
weight against the sills. I was alone. I did it myself. I called

you to say finally and you said yes and I grew sturdy in my chest.
We aren’t in our bodies these days. All those babies in your

womb were never real. I was there. Their tiny bodies dropped.
The way, even in summer, chill pooled in the iron tub & spouts.