The Revenant Quarrels with Weather


I kicked loose from those peculiar squalls, looked down years later from a different state, one free of crepe myrtle, mustard greens, grits, the telescope reflecting my one big eye. What breed of citizen refuses warmth, refutes a river’s meanders into myth, disputes bees tangled in their flight lines. Who casts her bone dice across nostalgia’s ruined map. Once the alligator jaws find me again, drop me back into the archive of storm, I fall through its flat, migraine light, run my hand down pages squirming with memory, chant their script in a bad accent, riff a borrowed creole back into blank mouths. At the museum of our civic remains, its animal damp, I remember a little, return to the crucial ligaments, what tore, I wander out, name the vacancies, number the rubble. Garden, river or trouble, everything grows beyond indigenous walls and made walls, beyond my spells for weather. For I am no more fluent than rain, than the wind that pronounces the waves.

WENDY BARNES earned an MFA in Writing at California Institute of the Arts and Doctor of Letters degree from Drew University. Her poetry has appeared in publications like No, Dear, Painted Bride Quarterly, Spiral Orb, Podium, Slice Magazine, Coldfront, and an anthology of poems about Paris entitled Paris, Etc. (2016, Serving House Press). Her chapbook, So-Called Mettle, was published in 2012 (Finishing Line Press). Her review of the current Raymond Pettibon retrospective at the New Museum in NYC will appear in the Spring Issue of Frog International Magazine of Art. She will present a paper entitled “‘Arise and Come Together’: CD Wright and Languages of American Protest” at this year’s NEMLA Conference in Baltimore.