The Iowa Review

Hades: Witness Statement, On The Disappearance of Kore
                              (For Jae Choi)

A:    In the breach without escort I breathe inside the letter.

A:    She was wearing a tinsel bodice of space.

A:    That as she paused preening in my palm without ceremony—

A:    To a place stationed abut place.
        But speak of its cupboards and trenches only when arriving
        because next came her blue shoes when one falls               unchorused
        into my hand.

A:    She refuses to speak

        and painting the remembered names of my horses that began
        by strolling the hallways together.

A:    No. I am simply undead among the dead.

        More like a civil servant. We work the printing press,

        That loosened petal of animal mechanics chomping oxygen               and
        chrome until absent.

A:    We employ mostly nurses; a version,

A:    Tuckering their tinsel murmur trays.

A:    Because, her pistil and lisp. Ledging. A turnstile.
        It was never personal.

        Her toys, which are vowels, which are toys, which are celled-
        sacs from which termites, or
        orchards of speech trunks for my workers.

        Diswound rhymes pile up outside the gates.

A:    She unpacks the ink from a curdled geyser and daughters it               into
        a hat.

A:    And then?

        Then the field was suddenly a mad woman
        jamming caverns into her violate smock. 
        The crop stalks, a militia, teetered and a snap.

        Storying, on one knee,

        from soil untethering her jawbone, a gesture ashes forth
        patty-cake nuptials.

A:    Then. Before night falls in this cellar, your four seas shall
        whinny and stagger in their stadium, unruffling waves
        in which all times might exist.

A:    Of course not.
        Not benevolent from the groin of the father, the brothers and               I:
        we drew sticks.

        Of brothers.

        Among brothers, gashlings. Bash at the brother-face
        blood-let for father-eyed: precedence.

        This is my station.

A:    Between each, all things: 
        there I live there I bind them,

        unto separateness that they may, whatsoever,
        and difference.

A:     "A botched junkyard garden sire should not envy them"
        cautioned one of my brothers.

        But that this child could end.

        Or: to see her safely forever standing safely forever
        on her tiptoes safely forever coloring in all the elbows
        and the sounds

A:    Because her sing-songs engrave us.

A:    Because this child could end.


The Iowa Review

Founded in 1970 and edited by faculty, students, and staff from the renowned writing and literature programs at the University of Iowa, The Iowa Review takes advantage of this rich environment for literary collaboration to create a worldwide conversation among those who read and write contemporary literature.
     They publish a wide range of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, translations, photography, and work in emerging forms by both established and emerging writers. Work from their pages has been consistently selected to appear in the anthologies Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.

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Erina Harris is a Canadian poet. Her work has been published internationally. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is now completing her PhD in poetics at the University of Calgary. In 2014, she published her first collection, entitled The Stag Head Spoke, which was short-listed for the Canadian Authors' Association Poetry Award.

This poem was previously published in The Iowa Review 46/1 (Spring 2016)

This page was first displayed
on March 13, 2017

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