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Stacy Gnall is the author of Heart First into the Forest (Alice James Books, 2011). She earned her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA at the University of Alabama, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her work has previously appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Florida Review, The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she now lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Damsel. Current projects include a series of poems about costume history and the Twilight Zone and critical work on the theme of human-animal transformation in literature and film.
Three Poems from Heart First into the Forest
for my mother
when you could still smell the green on me
back when your looking old was new
we ran to the dark churchyard
The dimmed silver held us in its huddle.
Its walls refused
It was colder than moon.
Together we pushed its great weight up
The bell with its tonsil out.
The three of us unable to make a sound.
The Insecticide in Him
Leaning against the stubborn shed, my brother looks right
He is a hopscotch-skip away,
He clacks his gum, his tongue a pin in a pink balloon.
With a start, he pulls a firefly from the marmalade jar,
He stares square into the insect glow, twists its wings and tosses them back
He says witches live in their guts.
He is always teaching me these things, like how the business
From a Dance Manual
for my father
Snip the cranky thing from its crib.
and carry its teacup weight, the world’s
Then permit the rug your promenade.
Behändel sie gut.
Sing, scavenger of the lowest notes.
that bit of violence in the back of your throat.
On TV, the second shuttle’s success.
Past the mantel’s burden, past each bashful knick-knack.
Past the blue-gray glances from the photographs.
Past the wreath, the hearth, the paisleys in their frenzy
And she will chase ghosts and wolves away.
Past the patience of the piebald hobbyhorse,
Sing, and the thing will fossilize.
Behändel sie gut.
© 2012 Stacy Gnall
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