New Animal | Steffi Drewes
Steffi Drewes is the author of Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow (Kelsey Street Press) and four chapbooks: Cartography Askew, Magnetic Forest, History of Drawing Circles, and New Animal. She has been awarded writing and art residencies at Aggregate Space Gallery, Vermont Studio Center, The Wassaic Project, and The Desert House in California. As founder of Featherboard Writing Series in Oakland, she curated literary programming and edited a collection of limited edition chapbooks from 2011-2017. She works as a freelance writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.
FIRST MEMORY OF CONSTELLATIONS
In legends we are winged mollusks, we are small cities
pulled alleyway by arm hair out of some bear’s slick gullet.
Stuck in a sandstorm, tried tying knots and tracing starfish arms
to decrease vertigo, before hatching a hammerhead crawl space.
Once sent to welcome little willow ones, we’ve since learned
to press alphabets up against screen doors, to suffer a sweet snow
or fall soft, belly up, dreams scattered with dead branches.
Given seed or stone, a little luck and a handsaw,
we can straighten our breath before the break of dawn,
face a whole host of hornets fit to dizzy up the daylight.
Torn from silhouettes of olive trees, we sift like broken locust shells.
All this on the same day we’re taught to multiply our hollows
like honeycomb. Counting fireflies on our mother’s
rough tongue—and still no rain. No sky map to speak of.