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About this poet

Emma Bolden is the author of three poetry collections, House Is an Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Cowles Poetry Book Prize; medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016); and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013). Bolden is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors, and serves as the associate editor-in-chief at Tupelo Quarterly. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

Beyond Love

If the saints are to be believed, if this body is a dress
we slip into, out of, if each day and night is the mantle
we tie around our shoulders, fabric thin as the time it takes
teeth to flatten the end of a thread and lead it through

an eyed needle, then what am I to make of the gorgeous
terror every star makes out of its own distance? Sometimes
I can see the body as a blaze, bright-gloried, flamed
and holy as a pin-prick the size of a soul. And if the soul

is a blaze to be believed, then belief blazes a highway
to some beyond, a beauty that begins with every ordinary
sweetness, every one small but still indefinable love.
Every morning, when I wash the wrongs I’ve made right

out of my hair, I want to believe in each drop of water
as a promise of and from the all that we’re meant to contain.

Copyright © 2018 by Emma Bolden. “Beyond Love” originally appeared in the Colorado Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Emma Bolden. “Beyond Love” originally appeared in the Colorado Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Emma Bolden

Emma Bolden

Emma Bolden is the author of three poetry collections, House Is an Enigma (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Cowles Poetry Book Prize; medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016); and Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013). Bolden is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, among other honors, and serves as the associate editor-in-chief at Tupelo Quarterly. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

by this poet

poem

                             again, been trailing
behind my lace                

                                       again, been

telling all my suns they need to hold
a holy but even summer’s a slicker,
mama, a wash,
                           & another thing is

thunder

poem

Though I didn’t know how to begin or believe, I held in
myself expectation. Awareness. A palpable fit. Every garden

a window through which I petalled off hopes. There was nothing

so alarming as a sky. Who knew if an elegance walked invisible
beside me or on stolen feet. Or if all elegance is