Continuing our series of blog posts featuring work by the 2017 Firsts! contest finalists, this week we’re pleased to present two poems by Cassandra Eddington.
what was edible
the cap, the stem:
when the body breaks
from the universal veil
see a button
see our little cap and gills
for breathing, we pray
you can identify us
the earth’s crust leaves
a remnant: the first dress is
a badge: chasm is a name
that sticks to us
we are married to the breaking through,
left with a ring, met by a family
of collaborators, a symbiont chorus
with our scraps, we find you
more beautiful: a ragged thing
we require: desire sprung in lack
because we fear
we do not know
in spores we carry so much:
a fairy ring from nobody’s dream
bursting out of insect bodies
all the origins, freaked in sunbeams
we come to inherit the meadow
I am well-versed in sacrifice:
my body for another, whole family
tree of martyrs whose deep roots runnel
into the heart or memory, which is an extension of the heart.
Girls always already mothers,
pioneers who traded verdant hills and farmland
for a desert valley, stood at the feet of mountains rising violently in sharp relief,
momentous as their faith: a geography for protection or projection,
isolation, and a firm grip on one another.
Nothing peculiar about it—
how easily the taproot comes up after the rain.
I parted the garden’s borders and forayed
into the wilderness, nostrils filled with a foreign scent
and I hungered after it.
How to give of myself without chipping away at
my self, I asked aloud to no one,
this being no eros of effacement,
of gradual obliteration, I promise I learned
that the freight should be / Proportioned to the groove,
but how I yearned for a soft network
of horizon and contagion
of other Others—
Those who are also hungry,
fruiting bodies thriving on decay
whose songs pierce the earth,
pulsate over every periphery:
the scavengers shall inherit the earth.
I came here to find and identify every one,
—not merely foraging for sustenance, but the tongue
tasting the names, the eyes learning
not poison or medicine, but how we grow,
break through the earth’s crust with soft insistent fists,
to eat at the same table.
Cassandra Eddington calls mirroring meridians of longitude–the deserts valleys, mountains, and high plains of Utah and Colorado–home. She received her MFA in Poetry from Colorado State University and recently returned to the West after living in Berlin, Germany. Her manuscript the hungry matter was a finalist in Gazing Grains Press 2013 chapbook competition, fragments of which were published by Gazing Grains Press as a part of their miniature series. In 2012, she was a finalist in Ahsahta Press’ Sawtooth Poetry Prize competition. Some poems can be found in La Vague, Word For/Word, Otoliths, and ditch. She is a teacher and a student, concerned with precarity, both materially and theoretically.