3D Analogy Anabiosis Press

Chapbook Contest Winner

Jackie White
Bestiary Charming

BEAST CHARMERS RIDDLE: O FOR ORPHEUS

I became what I sang to: a lion hunting memory.
Strum echoed the slink; pluck, the tripping bite
that led her to early death. I roared a blind
glance, tongue pierced through to story.

I was a mustang impatience stung.
I foamed bit–focused and shunned
other lips. I made woods weep, rocks
split, lament a tsunami to uproot oaks.

I gave all the suffering pause
but couldn’t stop.
Tortoise shelled, maniac clawed,
a boar in rut.
  Song turns to grunt:

I want to be left alone
I want to cry
be left alone
and left to die
  but the maenads screech
such rhyming lies
all hell already thinks
you’re crazy.
 
  Then why

does it call out to me, come on
back down—but I’m
an average swimmer
fail at too much I try—

can’t climb staffs, take control
of the oars, get myself to sink.
Though I heave and swallow

salt water crowds, buoys—
all my old music clinks
and I do not die. The named
go on naming; all singers echo me.

*

JACKIE WHITE holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is an assistant professor at Lewis University. An editor for Rhino magazine, she has had poems and translations appear in ACM, Blackwater Review, Folio, Third Coast, and others. This is her first book of poetry.

TO ORDER COPIES: Send check or money order for $8 made out to Anabiosis Press. Send to Anabiosis Press, 2 South New St, Bradford, MA 01835.


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last updated 21 September 2013