April 3, 2017

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews and Sarah Blake: “The Sea Witch Needs a Mortgage for the Land, If Not for the House of Bones”

BlakeAndAndrews

This week, we are proud to present a new poem by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews and Sarah Blake.

Andrews is a poet, critic, and Pennsylvanian. A two-time Academy of American Poets prize winner and a Pushcart nominee, her work appears in RHINO, The Normal School, The Southampton Review, West Branch, Bomb, and other venues. She is a doctoral candidate in English at Yale University.

Blake is the author of Mr. West (Wesleyan University Press), an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West. An illustrated workbook accompanies her first chapbook, Named After Death (Banango Editions). In 2013, she was awarded an NEA fellowship. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and son.

Authors’ note:

We are working on poems that tell the story of a sea witch who has decided to move to land and live among humans. Humans fascinate her and disgust her; she, in turn, fascinates and disgusts. Elements of fantasy allow us to confront particular kinds of sociopolitical absurdities (sexism and capitalism among them). Working collaboratively has been really exciting for us, and has pulled the poems and their protagonist’s desires in unexpected directions. But one constant has always been the sea witch as woman. She knows she’s not a woman in much the same way every woman knows she is not just a woman. But as a type of monstrous demigod, she ultimately sees the human form as a tragicomic sort of beauty. We hope the sea witch stays with us on land for as long as she can stand us.

 

The Sea Witch Needs a Mortgage for the Land, If Not for the House of Bones

The man at the bank says, I don’t want to be depressing

 

In her kelp dress          In her seashell dress
In her dress of ink, here is the problem,

 

a persistent sartorial illegibility,
what do you do when your face has borne no true witness—

 

I mean, we offer a variation on life insurance,
such that, if you were to,         he clears his throat

 

She looks at him in the manner of putting
makeup on a fingertip

 

such that the mortgage would be paid off in full and not
be a burden          on your kin

 

She devours her children like she devoured all the songs
invented to wish her a mortal, a fish, an innocent

 

If she could die maybe men would be necessary
As it stands              there will be no relief

 

About leanna

Leanna Petronella is a creative writing doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri.

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