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  • Contender
  • Traci Brimhall (bio)

It's alright to overdress for the riot. Your rage is stunning.It's alright to pursue the wrong pleasures and the right suffering.Here's my permission. Take it. It's alright to replace a siren

with a bell. Let the emergency make some music. It's alrightthat the meter reader broke your sunflower in half. You knewbetter than to plant it where you did. Sometimes it's alright

if you call your waiter honey when you order sweet tea. It's alrightif you fall out of love with being alive, but try again tomorrowwith French pop songs and fresh croissants, wear all your gold

to church, and try—really try—to believe anything but a stethoscopecan hear your heart's urgency. It's alright that your mother died.So will your father. And your son. But hopefully not before you.

It's alright to lie naked in the rain and refuse to go inside evenwhen the moon tries to make your cold thighs shine. It's okayto lick the ice cream cake from your fingers. Do it. Now. In front

of everyone. And if what falls on the children lining up their carsfor the soapbox derby is not snow but ash, that's alright. Celebratethe mutable body. And if you write notes to friends and senators

in primary colors, that's fine. It's even okay to begrudge the stubbornpears in the wooden bowl. You're right, you know. They're waitingto yellow until you turn away. It's alright that in the economy

of forgiveness you keep coming up one daffodil short. It's alrightif you ask your heart to grow the size of Secretariat's—not becauseyou want to outrun other horses or because your legs are classic, [End Page 32]

but because you, too, want to be buried whole after someoneexamines the insensible engine you left behind—iamb of thebeloved's name no longer metronoming the valves—and places

that slick fist in a stainless tray for weighing and shouts SweetJesus before describing its ungodly heft with superlatives, yourheart the most tireless, wildest, wiliest, thirstiest heat on record. [End Page 33]

Traci Brimhall

Traci Brimhall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W. W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010), as well as Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (forthcoming from Copper Canyon, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, and Best American Poetry. A 2013 NEA Fellow, she's currently Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2162-0903
Print ISSN
0048-4474
Pages
pp. 32-33
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-14
Open Access
No
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