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A Small Metamorphosis or The Power of Seeing

by Alicia Elkort and Jenn Givhan

I am a pat of pearl-colored flamingos
              I am a towel fading by the bathroom sink
I am a set of new bed sheets      not yet washed
              I am the broken swing set near collapsed
I am crabapple buds swollen on a February tree
              I am a knob of roots waiting     for someone to pull
I am a stamp collection in a case
              I am lost     letters unsent & yellowed
I am snakeskin     dried     under a microscope
              I am bundled sage meant to burn for cleansing
I am the doll painted as candy skull
I am two lanterns     one broken     & the night watch long—

Two lanterns against the long night
              I am the doll my mother caressed as she lay dying
I am bundled sage     a gift     a prayer
              I am dried snakeskin     remnants of the past
I am lost but found     grace in every bruised crevice
              I am a collection of horses in the field
I am a knob on a door to a celestine attic
              I am apple blossoms against the bluest sky
I am broken     wounds filling with gold
              I am a bed sheet’s pleated shine nightjars of desire
I am a towel     wet with dewdrop
              I am pearl & flamingo     the sweetest light


Alicia Elkort edited and contributed to the chapbook Creekside, published by Berkeley Poetry Review, where she also served as an editor. Her poetry was featured in the Ishaan Literary Review and has been published in, among other journals, Elsewhere Lit, Menacing Hedge, AGNI, Stirring, and Rogue Agent. She works as an accountant for film and television and is currently producing a documentary on global traditions of prayer.

Jennifer Givhan, a Mexican-American poet, is the author of Landscape with Headless Mama (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), winner of the Pleiades Editors’ Prize; Protection Spell (University of Arkansas Press, 2017), winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize; and Girl with Death Mask (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2018), winner of the Blue Light Books Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry, AGNI, Boston Review, Blackbird, The Best New Poets, and elsewhere. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellowship. She is editor-in-chief of Tinderbox Poetry Journal and lives with her family in New Mexico. (10/2017)

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