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Best of Irish Poetry 2010
Editor: Matthew Sweeney
Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition
Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes
Munster Literature Centre
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Anne Champion is the author of Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013) and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Pinch, Pank Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, Redivider, New South, and elsewhere. She was a recipient of the Academy of American Poet’s Prize, a recipient of the Barbara Deming Memorial grant, a 2015 Best of the Net winner, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She currently teaches writing and literature at Wheelock College in Boston, MA.
Don’t ask me what they worshipped in this
disintegrating body, my pulse like skipping
stones across a river. I used to love like a woman
ravenous, take men like a catapult, like the bed
was nothing but sky without a trace of storm.
As a child, I had to wrench myself from a gangrene
wound. Poverty braided rage up my spine
that I twisted into my taut bun every morning.
In the slums, the poor bellowed and yearned.
I touched them to remember: I am no saint.
But they studied as if I hovered in air. Hush,
I’ll tell you the secret of a political woman:
Be as beautiful as an actress, as humble as a nun,
open your legs to a political man and let lightning
peel from your thighs. Die young. Let disease
pluck at your body like a vulture until you transform
skeletal like a nightmare trick. Or let a man kill you.
Either way, they’ll clog the streets and embalm
your corpse into the nation’s most beloved doll.
My people, pray for this riotous heart, may rebellion
be your weapon. Remember me whenever you exhale
smoke, the way it stings, the way it traces the air
and proves it’s there, the way it threads retribution
into the rags you wear. Argentina, I’m always here.
I don’t sleep. I don’t suffer. I beg the streets with you
always, the tumors trailing my insides like a string of pearls.
Someday, this country will be a place where fire
doesn’t breed cinder, where conviction refuses the master
and the chain, where hope is parched mouths kissing
a sky never charged with thunder, a cascade of merciful rain.
©2016 Anne Champion
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