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About this poet

Paisley Rekdal is the author of Animal Eye (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), winner of the 2013 UNT Rilke Prize for Poetry; The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007); Six Girls without Pants (Eastern Washington University, 2002); and A Crash of Rhinos (University of Georgia Press, 2000), winner of the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award. She is the recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among others. She teaches at the University of Utah.

Bats

unveil themselves in dark.
They hang, each a jagged,

silken sleeve, from moonlit rafters bright
as polished knives. They swim

the muddled air and keen
like supersonic babies, the sound

we imagine empty wombs might make
in women who can’t fill them up.

A clasp, a scratch, a sigh.
They drink fruit dry.

And wheel, against feverish light flung hard
upon their faces,

in circles that nauseate.
Imagine one at breast or neck,

Patterning a name in driblets of iodine
that spatter your skin stars.

They flutter, shake like mystics.
They materialize. Revelatory

as a stranger’s underthings found tossed
upon the marital bed, you tremble

even at the thought. Asleep,
you tear your fingers

and search the sheets all night.

From The Invention of the Kaleidoscope by Paisley Rekdal, © 2007. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

From The Invention of the Kaleidoscope by Paisley Rekdal, © 2007. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of Animal Eye (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), Six Girls without Pants (Eastern Washington University, 2002), and A Crash of Rhinos (University of Georgia Press, 2000).

by this poet

poem

I'm no moaning bluet, mountable
linnet, mumbling nun. I'm
tangible, I'm gin. Able to molt
in toto, to limn. I'm blame and angle, I'm
lumbago, an oblate mug gone notable,
not glum. I'm a tabu tuba mogul, I'm motile,
I'm nimble. No gab ennui, no bagel bun-boat: I'm one
big mega-ton

poem
How horrible it is, how horrible
that Cronenberg film where Goldblum's trapped

with a fly inside his Material
Transformer: bits of the man emerging

gooey, many-eyed; bits of the fly
worrying that his agent's screwed him–

I almost flinch to see the body later
that's left its fly in the corner, I mean

the fly
poem

A man can cry, all night, your back
shaking against me as your mother
sleeps, hooked to the drip
to clear her kidneys from their muck
of sleeping pills. Each one white
as the snapper’s belly I once watched a man
gut by the ice bins in his truck, its last 
bubbling grunt cleaved in

2