Seduced from the branch to escape a life plunge 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 unyielding 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.