Katherine Seluja | 3 poems

Seduced from the branch 

to escape a life  
deep within the loam
threads of gold woven through her hair
a girl with silver slippers and desire
something to soothe the cool nights 
the ash and brittle tile
something to declare
no matter what the others  
lift the cloth and see
no disguise but beauty
the gold  the gild  the guilt drawn carriage   he
who calls you to the dance

Black Deer
     after Deanne Richards and Ansel Elkins

I’ve heard of the girl with antlers
but to see you here in the hide
traces of glazed bullets, threads of your life in the woods.

When your antlers grew why did you turn
from the reflection in the pond?

In a storm or a bear trap, who wins
the fight between ice and steel and bone?

Bare to the wind you murmur
a prayer: to know when 
to withdraw when to hunker down.

A girl with antlers can roost with the hens,
graze with mares, give birth
to a blue foal at dawn. 
Reach down break her own sac.

When we come to the end

Will we recognize the barcode
the sign that reads 
road ends here

Will we see the sunflower 
hanging heavy in a final bow
will we smell
the rotting soil
mouse dead in a trap
will we recall the scratching heard in the night
one leg caught
three legs pushing

Will we wonder if we pulled
the barn door closed
will we care

Will we walk barefoot across a field of mirrors
unharmed by glass
the sky so
reflects glints on the horizon again and again

When we come to the end
will we be sacred or scared
unprepared for the final
Will some of us have so much to say
some stand mute
Will water and words fill my mouth 
as the last wave overtakes me

Will I reach for your hand
pull you in


Themes of illness and healing inform much of Katherine DiBella Seluja’s writing.  Winner of the Southwest Writers poetry award and twice nominated for a Pushcart, her work has appeared in  Blink-Ink, bosque, Connotation Press, Crab Creek Review, Right Hand Pointing, Santa Ana River Review and Santa Fe Literary Review, among others. Her poem, “Letter to my suegra from Artesia, New Mexico” recently won honorable mention in the Santa Ana River Review contest, judged by US poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. Her first collection, Gather the Night, focuses on the impact of mental illness and is forthcoming in 2018 from UNM Press.

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