Three Poems by Stevie Edwards

Five Days Before the Election

& I don’t want to feel the earth today because a rich man is in it
who says he has the right to grab

the most mine thing I can think of but maybe wouldn’t want to
because maybe I am almost thirty

& have grown stately in myself these last three years,
watched ass & breasts become

rounder worlds & said okay, I can inhabit more
cells, can be the earned size

of my grandmothers. & it is American to consider
that he has a right to lead

America, to gather the wrinkled hands of bankers
and show them all the nooks & crannies

cloaking hushed treasures, teach them how to strip
the quiet armor women don

when we are tired of eyes following our legs
up staircases. I want to lie

down in a river bed, to let the water rush over
until I am a cold nothing,

touched only in the urgent pity of rescue
divers dragging me

back to earth. I want to let a man, a stranger, worry
over my body, what makes it

tick & gasp. I want to name each thigh dimple
and raised vein, each flake

of dry skin & stubbled hair, lest someone think
they were ownerless,

run their hand up my skirt on a bus like it wasn’t
a valued thing thieved. I want

to be precise about how rich I am, how bountiful
my folds of skin: this museum

of a pussy, this grand opera belly. Let the government
erect a fence around my yards

of legs, lush country of bush & blood. Let me be
a closed border, private country.

 

I Believe Art Freaks Will Save Us

The sloshed insistence of two birthdays
to celebrate on the Friday night after
we’ve elected a man for President
who is accused of raping a child
and everybody has huddled numb in black
funeral garments for three days of no makeup
or laughter, sitting in bars and saying very little
with ours mouths, a ritual we agreed upon
in the silent rage of our bedrooms after
we decided it was important to dress and witness
each other, to embrace and press our eyes against
shirt collars, to gently tug a jacket sleeve
and say unbearable, who are these people
who voted for that monster, how could they
but tonight I am holding a beautiful woman
closely as we belt, I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother, and it doesn’t matter
that we’re both offkey, that we only know
the chorus and flub the karaoke script:
we’re living in our bodies possessed
by the good glow of this witching hour
that raises us up up up into the most graciously
holy thing, a room full of women singing
and dancing unconcerned about who’s watching.

 

After the Election I Woke Up

covered in hives. Sometimes the body
refuses the day’s story,
screams at the news in small places
that say no, I will not
consent to this invasion, I will fight
at my own risk, break
red, spill this little stream of blood
across clean sheets.
And this is what I have faith in:
the body’s knowledge
of threats to its sovereignty. I can choose
dozens of products to lessen
my response to danger. I leave CVS
with bag full of gentle,
sensitive skin lotions and ointments.
It is good to be wrought tender
enough to feel the day’s sting. Discomfort,
a warning: stop this. Stop 
this before this whole body is a swollen open
sore, a wreckage of neglect.

***

Stevie Edwards is the author of two poetry collections: Good Grief (Write Bloody, 2012) and Humanly (Small Doggies, 2015), the former of which received the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from SIU-Carbondale. She is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Muzzle Magazine, Senior Editor in Book Development at YesYes Books, and a Poetry Reader for American Literary Review. She holds an MFA in poetry from Cornell University and is a PhD candidate in creative writing at University of North Texas. Her writing has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, The Journal, The Offing, Nashville Review, Superstition Review, NANO Fiction, Ploughshares Blog, and elsewhere. She is currently working on her third book of poetry, tentatively titled Lush. More: stevietheclumsy.com.

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