Four-Legged Girl: Poems

By Diane Seuss

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

"Diane Seuss writes with the depth of a soothsayer." ―Laura Kasischke

For, having imagined your physique a method i discovered it to be in a different way, it was once yielding,
but merely because the Destroying Angel mushroom yields, its softness allied
with its poison, and your legs weren't petals or tendrils as i might believed,
but brazen, the deviant tentacles underneath the underskirt of a mystery queen
―from "Oh four-legged lady, it is both you or the ossuary"

In Diane Seuss's Four-Legged Girl, her audacious, hothouse language swerves into soreness and rapture, as she recounts a existence lived on the edges of containment. Ghostly, horny, and plaintive, those poems bypass to the track of a leap rope, fill a wishing good with wish and different trinkets, they usually take into account prior lush lives in ny urban, in rural Michigan, and in love. within the ultimate poem, she sings of the four-legged lady, the physique made unusual to itself and to others. This assortment establishes Seuss's poetic voice, as wealthy and emotional as any in modern poetry.

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I refuse, nowadays, to romanticize myself. That woman, her purple sneakers. If they’d been excessive heels i might have ordered her out into the rain, yet they have been scuffed residences with a black vinyl abstraction lolling excessive just like the innards of a poppy or a large housefly rubbing its palms jointly. Her nipples have been large. It’s releasing to assert that. Having spotted it, why no longer say it? a few will take umbrage. but if I say “ordered her out into the rain” I suggest “extract her from my mind's eye. ” Does that support? My hair smells like oven cleanser. My tongue is faded; there’s anything mistaken with my spleen. The girl’s nipples, the dimensions of alien craft. Her coiffure from 1964, the 12 months my father died. Lace stockings and elbow- size purple gloves. Jade jewelry formed like my physique. cease asserting that she will be my daughter. i'll be my daughter, my daughter’s daughter. i've got a useless bone in my leg, and 8 screws, that have no structural goal. They’re symbolic; one for every screw-up. I’ve introduced my palms to my mouth to tamp down the ruthless tears. Mine are elongated, my tears no longer my titties, like El Greco’s penitent St. Peter. How can I say this so that you can start to comprehend? Her stance, frontal. Her nipples, emitting their very own gentle, asymmetrical baptismal grottos. The slant rhyme of her abdominal, narrow yet with out muscle tone, punctuated through an off-center stomach button, a period’s interval. Her vulva, unassailable. No higher than a sphinx moth, with only a wisp of hair over the lips, just like the mouth of a bit mute puppet. It jogged my memory of an envelope of mouse-colored curls that fell out of the e-book of Psalms that point I became to the Bible for solace. The faint loops of hair have been mine, secreted away through my mom from my first haircut by the hands of her father, a barber. My identify at the envelope, the hair like a useless shrew, flattened by means of time. Mine, these curls, and never mine, the way in which the woman wore her physique, hers yet now not hers, and prefer Dickinson claimed and renounced the metrics of the hymn, laying down dashes like rodent tracks in a light block of butter. The girl’s sheer black stockings have been strewn with them— Dickinson’s dashes—and they sagged a piece, as she’d refused to hook them to a garter belt. What i think for her, let’s now not name it love. i'm love’s mother’s fairy godmother, or the untimely daughter of love’s daughter’s daughter, and besides, the big-nippled woman doesn’t wish my love. She doesn’t wish anyone’s love. She’s post-love; she’s post-love’s poster baby. Love, for God’s sake—look at her bloody little sneakers. good looks is over attractiveness used to be 4 videos in the past, the only during which Vaseline was once smeared at the lens to fog the celebrities attractive. Now the rabbits’ nests are empty, the puppy having a look self-satisfied. Feasting at the more youthful types of ourselves, that’s what we do. Violets, hunched of their pots at the veranda, rabbit-like of their stillness. Their pulses nonetheless trill, yet nobody is familiar with. nobody desire comprehend. i love my weekends now, unengaged from what's referred to as good looks.

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