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Maxine doesn’t only love men’s bodies. She wants to grasp the logic
of their internal organs. She craves blueprints, circuit diagrams,

sewing patterns. First time she saw Frankenstein she wasn’t afraid.
She wanted to know how the mad doctor did it,

where to get dead people parts, which graves were best
for culling, whether a whole family of ladybugs

could live inside those zombie bellies.
When the high school guidance counselor

asked the inevitable career question, she told her
all she really cared about was weaving back and forth

between the inner and outer life of people, what you could see,
what you couldn’t, writing down what she found there,

taking ideas apart and putting them back together
to make them more ecstatic.

So you want to be a mechanic?
In a way, she said, and left it at that.

Every winter solstice she watches surgery shows, goes to butcher shops,
rethinks people as composites, disparate shards blazed together by sheer will.

She has only to say unravel and her body will unwind before her,
unfurl like a curled hair come undone after the ravage.

So much about negative space can be learned
from snow angels, how she imprints slush with the shape

of where she was, then where she wasn’t. To dissolve the distinction
between inside and outside take a wrecking ball to a building.

Where do things go after they’re unmade: failed marriages,
the minds of the dead, old cells after replication?

Is there a holding place for disappeared things where people can reclaim
everything from nail clippings to abandoned children?

Because she can’t stand the thought of her love vanishing,
She keeps all her old boyfriends in a mason jar by the porch swing.

 

from Caroline Hagood’s book of poetry, Making Maxine’s Baby (Hanging Loose Press, 2015)

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CAROLINE HAGOOD’s first book of poetry, Lunatic Speaks, was published in 2012 by FutureCycle Press, and her second poetry book, Making Maxine’s Baby, an SPD Bestseller, came out in May 2015 from Hanging Loose Press. Her poetry and essays have also appeared, or are forthcoming, in The Kenyon Review, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, La Petite Zine, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Salon, and the Economist. She is a Teaching Fellow and English PhD Candidate at Fordham University, where she has been the Graduate Assistant for the Poets Out Loud reading and book series and Graduate Editor of CURA, a multimedia literary magazine. She’s finishing a dissertation on how female poets revise the work of male filmmakers called Women Who Like to Watch: 20th Century American Cinepoetry. She co-founded the Kill Genre reading series, which showcases groundbreaking works that push the boundaries of form and flirt dangerously with hybridity, and she writes a monthly column for Drunken Boat called This Month in Mind-Bending, a monthly meditation on genre-bending works of literature, film, and new media. She has taught writing at St. Francis College and Fordham, and led the poetry workshops for Poets Out Loud’s High School Outreach Program for students from underserved communities in partnership with Girls Write Now.

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