In honor of National Poetry Month, The Thread is celebrating Poetry Fridays. Each Friday in April, we will publish a selection of poetry from local independent publishing houses Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press and Milkweed Editions.
Today's selections come from Analicia Sotelo, Tom Sleigh and Kelly Forsythe.
Ariadne's Guide to Getting a Man
First, you must feel that no one could love you ever.
Let the feeling become a veil of black paper.
Let the paper become papier-mache.
Make the mache into marionette monsters.
Make the monsters fall in love and scold them
when they disappear down the hallway.
When your friends look for husbands
with muscles, horns, and hooves,
make a face like you ate something tart,
like their taste in men is beastly.
Grow up some, but not with your body.
The book you are reading is about a girl who rejects a god.
The book you are reading is about a girl no one believes.
Consider loving a clever man with a multisyllabic name,
a name you could trust,
like Sophocles, Socrates, Thucydides—
all soft at the edges and likely
to appreciate your stretches of languorous study.
You are at a drama festival in a sundress, eating honey cake.
Where are they?
Grow up even more, to the point where nothing fits.
Call a young doctor to help diagnose the problem.
He'll give you a bottle called:
Dr. Naxos's Remedy for Acute Neuralgia.
Take it with egg white and saffron after a night dream.
Do you trust him? No, but everyone has left you
to take in the country air.
Three nights later, you see him again—
his tall, crepuscular body separates itself from the lilies.
And you realize the body is not grotesque—that it is, in fact,
like a bolt of fine batiste gathered in your hand,
but first you must give up
a willingness to be right about the world.
Your brother is howling.
Your brother is howling
because your mother chose love and look where it left her.
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Whatever you do, there are rockets falling,
and after the rockets, smoke climbing
up through walls that are exploding.
Trees grow up where there once were people, weeds
take over beds of lettuces and coddled flowers,
uprearing mole hills unpopulate the fields.
The bricked-in hours of the human have all been knocked down.
No one lingers at lipstick counters, no one
stares into a screen to escape the digital mayhem
of heroes hurdling over the heads of monsters.
The old bones on the mountain that stand upright
and shake when winds blow up from the shore,
old bones that shake when the winds roar
now dangle in the void of an unknown dimension.
Feels like daytime on my muscles; early teen, quite thin.
I went to see The Secret Garden, waited for the campfire scene,
pulled smoke near until I breathed it. I really breathed it, & you.
Our place in the theater is overgrown & petals are falling off
down the aisles: it looks like a gun just happened in the movie.
Your gun a ghost silhouetted on a screen & played out in slow
motion. This should be menacing.
I hit the floor heavy with thorns; crawl on my palms collecting
tiny spikes—so small my palms, tendons sharp and cut up.
Right behind, you're grabbing my leg & pressing your cheek to
my calf & kissing. I'll always
let this happen. I hope always—my hands are brittle flowers,
breaking all over.