Drinking Girls and Their Dresses
The poems in this book tell a story set in a Florida both lush and oppressive, where similar paradoxes confront the child who would be both open to everything and permanently safe. The girl-body’s relationship to otherness—the masculine, but also the overpowering natural world—as it is distracted by desire plays a key role in these slant, crackly, truly original poems.
I heard a fly buzz when I got
married. I heard a song playing lyrics
I will always know the way you know
something right after it is said.
He says I remind him of Piltdown girl.
That hurts like hogwash. I take it with a tumbler
of salt. She’s fake! Not even a girl, you know.
My car needs new brakes. My house needs
New light. My tub is like your love is, over-
flowing. It’s a long way down. Everyone
knows how to cry. It's a long way to
your ear. This is why we got married,
We need ears to lick, ears to reflect our noses and
we need palms to press, cash to flash. A boy has
a certain smell and he gets hungry for cookies,
too! The complete package. We need this bliss of
Not-thinking, the stupor of oneness. Marriage is stupor elevated.
I always thought I would just marry Florida, or maybe
a state of mind. Flesh comes as a surprise, your crazy
needles (I remind you of Piltdown girl?) kip and
Keep me. Okay. The sun is strong after the
wedding. You sleep in our bed in the shape
of a K. I wander around the downstairs
hungry and homesick. The dog has written his own
Vows. We confer on the back steps, two
breaths on the stoop, the door open wide.
The dog has written in a lot of walking.
I have to give this pause, I say. What I see
On my wedding day: in our garden, and I must
add, in the select garden next door to us, the hyacinths, hard
knobs of wet silk, black and stinky. The snails are
smart. Cloak, and eat. The snails are making themselves
Into plump shiny awnings over all these awesome back-door deaths.
Copyright © 2002 by Heather Sellers.
Heather Sellers was born in Orlando, Florida, and received her PhD from Florida State University in 1992. Recipient of an NEA for fiction writing in 2001, she is also the author of Georgia Underwater, a collection of short stories, which won a Barnes and Noble Discover Award. Her first children's book, Spike and Cubby: Ice Cream Island Adventure! is forthcoming in spring 2003 from Henry Holt. Your Whole Life, a poetry chapbook, appeared in 1992 from Panhandler Press. Heather Sellers writes articles on running and writing, and her fiction and poetry appear in journals and anthologies. She lives in Holland, Michigan, where she raises Pembroke Welsh Corgis.