The Revenant Quarrels with Weather

by Wendy Barnes

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, DearPainted Bride QuarterlySpiral OrbPodiumSlice MagazineColdfront, 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.