Yona Harvey is a literary artist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the poetry collection, Hemming the Water (Four Way Books: New York, 2013), and the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation. Her poems can be found in jubilat, Gulf Coast, Callaloo, West Branch, and various journals and anthologies, including A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry (Ed. Annie Finch).
Dawn Lonsinger is the 2013 Drew Darrow Memorial Poet. She is the author of Whelm, winner of Lost Horse Press's 2012 Idaho Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks: the linoleum crop (chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the 2007 Jeanne Duval Editions Contest) and The Nested Object (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her poems and lyric essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Guernica: A Magazine of Arts & Politics, New Orleans Review, Subtropics, Best New Poets 2010, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Smartish Pace's Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, and four Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes, and holds an MFA from Cornell University and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Muhlenberg College.
White girls die first.
Which means I'm still
alive, but breathless &
on the run in the brain's
maze of scrutiny. How
I stumble in the memory
of Ohio, old names & faces
given me: Pecola, Dorcas,
Violet, Nel, First Corinthians.
Reinvention is my birthright.
With each step I am altered:
mother, daughter, river, sun. A tree
swells on my dark back
& no one waits in the future to
kiss me, only the towns-
women hissing at my
inappropriate dress, but not
at the sweet-talking rogue
who travels with me.
Inside the mire my heart
still pulses at first, fatigued
& deathbound, then quick.
There's not enough milk
for all these babies or
the blue-eyed dolls yanking
their mouths open & shut.
Give a little clap, clap, clap,
chant the children & there's some-
thing ancient about the music's call
to order. (Put them in your lap.)
Who wouldn't stop to trace
the scars on the walls, their
embroidery of skin, stitches
that stretch for miles? Not I,
says the Jolly Old Woman
disappearing in a warm tunnel,
asking, Toni, won't you tell me
a funny story? I cut my losses
& sprint. I'm smoke, I'm ash,
Holy Ghost & Crucifix,
the preacher reborn to a body
in the grass, chirping, Death
is so much different than I imagined.
from Hemming the Water (Four Way Books: New York, 2013)
Finally the sun has come out again.
The slatted roofs are silently warming,
small mossy things tingling in the pith.
Poppy after orange poppy after poppy
the earth laces its lack of ambition into
the air as if to bind it. The cat cannot be
convinced out of the bed of tall allium.
Who can blame it for bathing in its body's
island of warmth? What amniotomy
of light. Cohesion ruptured. Shade & glare
absorbing walls and birds then slipping away.
Oubliette where everything emerges. Porches
of fragment & leeway. The warm hose snakes
around the foundation, drips tepid metallic-tasting
water into the soil that hugs the house in place
like a strange uncle. Get up thermal thing.
Follow the flickering where ants lick
the pink pink lids of peonies.
from Whelm (Lost Horse Press, 2013)
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