Poetry Suite by Stevie Edwards

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, January 27th, 2014

We all know what a dirge sounds like...

poetry stevie edwards nailed magazine

I Think I Know Her House Within the Winter Snow Too Well

…………..“A woman like that is not a woman, quite.”
…………………………—Anne Sexton

If I lock all the vicious tools in a chest—
If I Lexapro and Lamictal and celibate and sober—
If I roast root vegetables and eat them—

your weather will still wait. Here, take these veins
out for dinner. Try, like it’s enough.
This myth I can’t get over: the punishment

of dead leaves, cold pastorals.
I glut and glut the jeweled seeds,
belly filled more by the next world than life.

Dreaming a daughter sobbing
in christening frills, the uncertain
life I could give of this constant autumnal

body I’ve fed death and wept as it spat
those gray eyes back out like rotten greens,
I praise the thick ruby oozing of the never

conceived, the latex-guarded nothings.
I am afraid of the moving mouths
of doctors, what they’ll say has been done

to my liver and bowels by wee fistfuls
of quieting pills. With bruised inner elbows
of IV saviors, gimped life of a body

even paramedics wouldn’t hold,
dropped down the staircase like a limp fish,
I am my monster. Must be a sin in it,

to wish a child born to a half-poisoned mother.
I’d pilfer joy from first curls and coos,
damn the dimpled dear into dread clothes

and rioting the common ebb of seasons.
We all know what a dirge sounds like.
No need for another pitchy voice droning:

poor old me, burry me, marry me
to worms, let the pallbearers carry me.
O good gods of stasis and sugar,
I am asking you to make me a quiet thing.


+ + +

Which Witch I’ve Been

Nobody knows my sorrow like the rainbow-haired
sandwich artist at the Subway on State Street—
not my latest lover whom I won’t bring home
to see the groceries I haven’t bought, three weeks
musty laundry amassed across bathroom tile,
the life I haven’t attended to since October gloomed.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

Each cheap take-out order, a declaration of
unbearable without limit: the cracking and whisking
of eggs, taking steel wool to the frying pan,
all these banalities made Herculean by the slippage
between illness and blues. I turn off my phone
to lessen the pathos of no one calling to say
this too shall pass, like in a good chick flick
where the damsel grows into a catalogue posture.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

Nobody knows my sorrow like my sorrow knows
the square footage of my apartment, how many steps
it takes to pace from one end to the other—the flex
of calve and creek of joints, the plodding trudge,
its austere territory. I can still circle spots on my body
that want to touch the world and be touched.

The gray horizon made a witch of me. I said horrible
things to the ones I love. Now, who will unbury me?

+ + +

Bodies of Sin

I am not just meat but gristle the nearing winter reminds the rot-womb he left me with so much pain I thought kidney stones until the green disgust came thick en route to debauch New Year’s in Chicago too much failure deplaned into Howard Brown’s anxious strangers waiting mostly to be told nothing but shame haunted their intimate organs not ruined like mine I waited sedately to learn fate I’d invited without doubt his winsome future, Ivy med degree, muscling into me a little frantic but I swear never unkind in his wanting

+ + +

 Luck, Luck, Noose
In the dewy brain of morning they haven’t been cut down.

The two young men, my college friends, are still
pendulums closing in upon death.

I study the tiny oscillations across my ceiling:
a hypnotist’s watch. I am feeling very…
like I have felt those eyes

in my stomach, an un-wanting so boundless
it knows my innards better than any ultrasound.

I can’t imagine you like it,
being two tragedies strung up in the same room like this.

Was there ever a time we three creeps sat down together
at Baldwin Hall, glared in silent,
disapproving unison at overcooked noodles
and canned peaches?

I don’t think this happened—Josh, John,
gentleman of this breakneck brigade—

I have brought you here to discuss the rules of dying:
I’ve been stacking cards for a decade.

Dad taught me to slap the best trick on the ass
of the euchre deck while I tilled the cards in,
hold it there three shuffles,

then wait—one card, two cards, three cards,
let the gem slide in at the four spot.

Stave off the cut with a smile
too wholesome for a cheat.

The first time I tried to slip my outsides
I failed. The second, the third—
wrong stacks of pills I couldn’t keep down.

The fourth, a bluff at death. I wanted to keep it:
life, the embarrassment,

even the professor’s email …You don’t know
what day it is. You’re confused
on a Sunday I thought was Monday,

said I was too ill for fiction,
after having risen from a heaved pool
of my own dark brewing.

Gentlemen, what finally shooed you
out of dread clothes,
into nooses? No,

don’t speak to me. I am
cutting old towels, rags to dust the dead skin
from my room.

All you little yous flocking the light fixture.
Oh, I am coming for you, fixing
to shut you up good.

+ + +


This Is Just to Say…

I have taken
the tongue of the man you love
—which you were probably wanting
six state lines away—
between my glad thighs,
and thought not of
the damped wool clothing
his chin, not
the baritone begging
for a long drink,
not the human-shaped stain
haunting the ceiling,
but of you
as I came—your face
slammed shut
at the sight of him
delighting in the trembling
current eddying
me. Do not forget
the moan I left
in his scrumptious ears:
it was meant for you.

+ + +

poet stevie edwards nailed magazineStevie Edwards is a poet, editor, and educator. She currently is a Lecturer at Cornell University, where she recently completed her MFA in creative writing. Her first book, Good Grief, was released by Write Bloody Publishing in 2012 and has received post-publication awards, including the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Verse Daily, Indiana Review, Devil’s Lake, Vinyl, and elsewhere. She is Editor-in-Chief of Muzzle Magazine and an Assistant Editor at YesYes Books.



Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.