Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence



By Paisley Rekdal

Prune what grows

abominable: let loose

that fierce intransigent alive

inside me, its will

like medicine to surpass

both wound

and latest cure, to be cruel

anticipation of winter:

self-erasing, deeply willed-for.

I grow and grow.

There's more of me

to come, you know,

tight coupling

of ambition with ambition,

though what else thrives

too quick I always kill,

even salmonberries

or the rare white aster.

Bounty this flush

is simply

poisonous, thus I'm my own

and bitterest pill:


interloper, hemlock coiled

at the oak tree's choked root.


what's worse than such


I beg people

take it all, take it off, strip me

of my richness,

but to no use:

I have to live

with what's overly

available. I tell you now,

Ms. Greenhorn Thumb,

Little Symbol Girl

Soured on Sweetness

and Plenty:

fear leakage, seep,


Pray for catastrophe.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 82, No. 2 (Summer 2008), pp. 127-128


Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir that combines poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography entitled Intimate; and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize, and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her work has received numerous fellowships and awards, and her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, and Tin House, among others.

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