The Girl Plants Knives
BY CLAUDIA CORTESE
in the manure, kisses the anthill and prays for fire. She follows the green porchlight, sets her jug on the steps—drinks until what’s broken burns. She smells leaf cinders, knows winter will come soon, but doesn’t know what will follow: a square of red in the frozen ground—the barn door unhinged—blood-drops on snow: Chokecherries, she’ll name them, then run to the house where she’ll stir mint leaves in a pot of hot water, listen to the sink’s silverdrip. She’ll hear this as God’s bright promise—that the creaks outside her bedroom door will be inhuman, a breeze through the cracked window.
Claudia Cortese’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2011, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, and The Kenyon Review Online, among others. Cortese recently completed her first book of poetry, which explores trauma, myth, fairy tales, and girlhood. She lives and teaches in New Jersey.