A hundred men bear one girl’s bones
to catacombs. In her sarcophagus,
loose legs clink against a halfling pelvis,
pebble hard. Through cobbled tributaries,
bearers flow along a riverbed last lapped
by her red waters. . . .
Today I’m reading and re-reading ekphrastic poems by Sara Biggs Chaney at The Boiler. They’re based on the photographs of Katerina Plotnikova, who uses live animals and striking color in her photographs — they’re very evocative. So, too, are Sara’s poems.
From “II. Brown Bear“:
I smell my death on your belly
and I do not flinch.
Your face a cannon
on the hinge of my neck
Throughout the month of June, I selected poems to appear each week at the TheThe Poetry Blog. TheThe is great at sharing interesting work and engaging essays and interviews. Here are the poems I selected, with an excerpt from each:
Better than Television and Will’s White Hen by Alisa Golden
Her ankles swole up
and she leaned on a
sprinkler key like a cane.
Letter from the Back Porch by Sara Biggs Chaney
I would never ask you
to come back
as I don’t contain ideas
like come back
The Size of Things, Decreasing Scale by Jen Stein
11) Your pupils grown wide soaking light
12) A bean seed to be planted
13) My pupils when fixated
14) The distance between your thumb and my neck
Your breasts at the surface of the roiling water. The smell of chlorine
and desire. We divide and assign the space between us.
Your specialty is keeping score, mine is pretending not to.
A huge thanks to Fox Frazier-Foley and Micah Towery for inviting me to contribute!
Winter Tangerine has a fascinating issue that features poems alongside their earlier drafts, as well as the poet talking about the evolution of the piece.
Here’s an excerpt from Sara Biggs Chaney’s poem “The Engineers Lament the Inevitability of Foundation Collapse“:
The floor runs slant.
Drop a marble on the doormat;
gravity will attend.
And her final words on editing:
At any rate, I decided this poem was finished when I could find no more tangles through which to comb.
Process is such an interesting thing, and as individual as a thumbprint. It often even varies widely from poem to poem. It’s great to get inside the mind of a poet, and behind the scenes with their work.