Copyright 2018

Autonomic Illusion

Jennifer Stitt

My overcoat fell
            off and hung itself
in the doorway
            smoke curls round


the ends of my fingertips
            it feels like
like water sliding
            over shoulders


or not
            elbows askew
or
            not


though perhaps
            feet on floorboards
when the ash hits and
            burns.

Un-making

Not the indigo buntings aflutter along that steep ridge.
Not the kudzu slowly strangling that oldest of oaks,
her lingering limbs lifting up, and out, as if for air.


Not the rich iron earth
emboweled within that red
mountain’s Silurian strata.


No longer that resplendence.
No need for
grace or the goddesses. Not here.


But rather this.
Electric trembling, her fingertips flexing,
against his belly, two firm fists.


But
rather—

            this.


            Her empty
            womb: a catacomb
            where blood has gathered


            in crevasses
            even the bathwater cannot
            reach.

Jennifer Stitt is a poet as well as a historian of modern American thought, culture, and politics. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has appeared in Aeon, Aura Literary Arts Review, Big Think, The Garrison Institute, On Being, Quartz, and Public Seminar, among others. She lives and writes in Birmingham, Alabama.