Animalia / Alison Fraser
dancing girl press, 2014
Alison Fraser is a PhD student at the University at Buffalo, where she works for the Emily Dickinson Journal and the Poetry Collection.
What I wanted to be then I have now
Bolt and shot, I canceled and cursed, loosened feet
So bridle my throatlatch; confirmation faults
Before the outside blood, and my ribs are well-sprung.
Misshapen legs and narrow chest, poor bones to hold.
Eroding I left Assateague to fall away; though soft, eventually worn,
The island drifts westward; a full body’s long and not only skin,
And not bellied without its water.
I’m telling you I can fall again
And after loving you my breast beats once more
And the mountain beasts can cause no fear
In ribs that cage amore like mine.
Only hours until you lay away the days
From face and body, standing in ocean waves
Channel me to Chincoteague, alive in band
And back to the water’s verge.
A woman’s shadow carries behind you
And in each wall I see the scrape, requicken in trod sorrow
In quiet nests turned around and engraved from the back—
This the hilly birth of my erasure, first and unexpected.
Aces are heroes and the grave preserves life
And each time you leave I will follow.
Having held horses by the stage door, knowing what then
I cannot bring back to you, who became enough for tears,
Too human for the city or the town.