Red and Vast | Kristi Carter
Kristi Carter is the author of Daughter Shaman Sings Blood Anthem (Porkbelly Press) and Cosmovore (Aqueduct Press). Her poems have appeared in publications including So to Speak, poemmemoirstory, CALYX, Hawaii Review, and Nimrod. Her work examines the intersection of gender and intergenerational trauma in 20th Century poetics. She holds a PhD from University of Nebraska Lincoln and an MFA from Oklahoma State University.
To my Ex Girl, Welcome to the New McCarthyism
Remember the smooth cool of your arms,
like seal-hide, belonging to the ocean and the
frozen land. I don't dream of you anymore but
I'm sure you heard, we elected a pumpkin king
who would shove us and any children we owned back
into obscurity. If you and I had spent our nights
developing time travel instead of teenage mass,
we could have set the dial to now for assassination.
This will sound extreme to anyone
who has never felt the gut-pull of the
first one to whom you say all the stupid shit
that echoes in your stiff mouth like myth and spell before
you both collide. Remember how they would follow us chanting
that word the Dutch use to dam up water—
which is apt: fluid power.
All the alchemy your solid body taught me,
brought me to surpass you and leave you
to be burned at a lone stake.
The boy branded my tit with a ring of teeth,
and I was remitted into the common chattel.
You cast your invocations for my return all autumn
but I had stowed my soul deep in the snow,
smooth and cold. And then this,
I was not like them, but I was not like you.
My path was split, and I would walk my bifurcated fate—
that invisible path lined with barbed wire—
back and forth, the only way I could manage
to travel through my own time.
dancing girl press, 2018