Two Poems

by Emma Bolden


Because the Body Is a Place Strange Unmapped

I walked the rented city, the swath of sod
beside the creek. I walked the landscape I knew

as land until I knew it and its cold as intimately
as oxygen, the banks beaded with so many eyes

I couldn’t understand seeing. And when the first
feathers first needled through my arms I mistook

their beginnings for a rash. I lotioned and long-sleeved
each arm they pricked by calamus, by rachis, the smooth

wash of vane. By these means I became. By this I mean
I was naked and not naked, the way the animals are

naked and not naked, the way they are in their bodies
and not in their bodies, their faces stuffed with teeth above

the delicately wired trap of a jaw. I thought I’d learn flight
but I just found feather, the secrecy of dark and star and beast.


House Is a Hoard

House stuffs its walls with mice and men’s
magazines. All fall, House hosts an exhibit

of squirrels and their acorns. House has
a hard time letting go. House keeps

its upside-down electric outlets and House
keeps them upside-down. They stare

with their slots of eyes, their small mouths
open always in surprise. House doesn’t care

about your toolbox. House dares you.
House dares you again. House is an artist

of rain and its remnants. Your tarps
and bathtubs are parts of its installation.

House doesn’t care for your plans
about that couch and that new television.

House constricts the narrow throat
of its hallway and when you try to move

that chair you’ve always wanted
in your bedroom to your bedroom, House

reminds you: your will is only
your will. Your will is not a wall.


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About Emma Bolden

Emma Bolden is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013). She has published four chapbooks of poetry: How to Recognize a Lady (Toadlily Press), The Mariner’s Wife, (Finishing Line Press), The Sad Epistles (Dancing Girl Press), and This Is Our Hollywood (The Chapbook). She is the author of a nonfiction chapbook, Geography V (Winged City Press). A Barthelme Prize and Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize winner, her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry and The Best Small Fictions as well as journals including The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, Conduit, and Copper Nickel.

Emma Bolden

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