The hands are just for show, you see. Buttoning and unbuttoning dresses. Fingering the gears of the tiny pink booth. Today, I rearrange the letters of our names. Hide you beneath the trap door. Call you daughter. Call you heretic. Cast candles in the shape of girls, soap in the shape of horses. All of them speaking at once, soft caressing the inside of their vowels. I cut off your hair lest they mistake you for a harlot. Mistake you for a river full of ships. Slip their fingers beneath the black glove to thumb the bones of your wrist. The dark inside like a cabinet, or a girl’s mouth. I cut off your arms and call you monster. Every table uneven. My cakes in the shape of martyrs, mothers.
A: Before I actually put anything officially down on the page, I am a collector of bits and snippets of things around me images, phrases, things I read, see, or hear. When I put it together, it’s very much a collaging of all of these and a sort of stringing together of narrative.
Q: Is there an exciting poet (emerging or established) whose work you just discovered this year?
A: As a publisher, I am constantly finding new discoveries in the authors we wind up publishing, but outside of that, one of my favorites now is Anna Journey, whose If Birds Gather in Your Hair for Nesting I am reading and re-reading. I’d read her work in journals before, but just got my hands on the book this winter.
Q: If you could go on a one-week writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you travel?
A: It would have to be somewhere comfortable and laid back enough to allow me to work, but not so beautiful or distracting that I lost focus (Hawaii or Europe would be a terrible idea). Maybe a cabin up in the woods somewhere without an internet connection.
Kristy Bowen is the author of several books and chapbooks of poems, including girl show, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2013. She lives in Chicago, where she runs dancing girl press & studio.