Evening, the tissue door to ossify against night.
There is no mother or hatch for miles.
Something motherish & still grows on my acres
as a cherry apple rasp,
which means “having been burned.”
Don’t marry me now.
Spread a handful of weeds & grasses on the floor.
Pears become softer & softer
& more liquid. I salt cucumber
& set it at my mother’s
When salt is song, my mother cuts
small X’s in tomato skins, a deer head,
sugar beets & poultry, bone.
I’m tracing the places it is possible
to imagine the rest of the bird.
We are learning about patterns.
Small old men in plaid flannel shirts—
the tongues of two of them are light gray,
a cigarette second-guessed
from car to brush. How can they
hear your footbeat
from inside the body of your wife?
Goodness needs the evidence of all our lives,
What is a woman
in the slow hardening
given shape by many
from a penknife?
grow wild like
green bees spaced out
in a hive of light.
What is a woman
to do with carrion,
his red arm loose
over her shoulder,
glands in the road.
“Evening, the tissue door to ossify against night…” — “Noon—is the hinge—of the day” (#931) by Emily Dickinson. “A Chiaroscuro Love” by Adriniki Mattis.
“You Are Hurting My Feelings” by Sabrina Orah Mark. “This is not a map to-” by Douglas Kearney. “The Unsolvable Mysteries of the Voynich Manuscript” by Josephine Livingstone. “Adventure” by Sherwood Anderson. “A Man of Ideas” by Sherwood Anderson.
“Pears become softer & softer…” — “The Impetus Was Delight” by Lydia Davis. “Chilika Lake” by Meena Alexander. “Solve for X” by Ari Banias. “No Need for the Moon to Shine in It” by Jane Wong. “Planet Grandma” by Jess Feldman. “The Necklace Without Peer” by Ibn ‘Abd Rabbihi, translated by David Larsen. “Fast Catastrophe” by Elizabeth Onusko. “The Leavings” by Grady Chambers. “Trouvée” by Elizabeth Bishop. Again, “The Necklace Without Peer” by Ibn ‘Abd Rabbihi, translated by David Larsen. Again, “The Leavings” by Grady Chambers. “Fork” by Charles Simic.
“We are learning about patterns…” — “Atom Hymn” by Alysse Knorr. “Eating Fish Alone” by Lydia Davis. “The Cows” by Lydia Davis. “January Drought” by Conor O’Callaghan. “Stardust” by Aleah Sterman Goldin. “On Alice Neel” by Hilton Als. Again, “Stardust” by Aleah Sterman Goldin. “The Doll” by Jason Reed-Mundell.
“Goodness needs the evidence of all our lives…” — “In a Time of War” by W.H. Auden. “Burning the New Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye. “The Reins” by Jay Deshpande. “The Dog Hair” by Lydia Davis. “Death” by Sherwood Anderson. “Mind No Mind” by Jia Tolentino. “on new year’s eve” by evie shockley.
“What is a woman…” — Alice Neel, Uptown by Hilton Als. “My Father Sleeps” by David by Wevill. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. “Gate” by Robyn Schiff. Again, The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. Again, Alice Neel, Uptown by Hilton Als. “Poem” by Jane Wong. Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje.
About the Author
Holly Mitchell is a poet from Kentucky. A winner of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers and a Gertrude Claytor Prize from the Academy of American Poets, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University and a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College. Her poems have appeared in Baltimore Review, Narrative Magazine, and Paperbag, among other journals.