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Academy of American Poets Summer Series. Recorded at the New York Public Library, August 5, 2014.

About this poet

Bianca Stone is the author of The Mobius Strip Club of Grief, forthcoming in February 2018 from Tin House Books, and Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. She runs the Ruth Stone Foundation in Vermont and New York City. 

I Saw the Devil with His Needlework

The air was like a bullet made out of silk
I saw him at the curb
on old upholstery  
saw him with his counted-thread-point
and tent-stitch, bent over an embroidery hoop
the trees lifted their drunk limbs and leaves
while the evening
looked through a succession of windows
into other people’s rooms
the evening was a powerful gun
the evening had an Uzi
broad evening
in a neighborhood full of translucent teens
sucking on one another’s backpacks
filling up the trains with their heat
their intelligence pouring out into the street, sobbing—
I saw the devil with his sewing threads
making something special for me
and it wasn’t thunder
it was perfect clouds
I saw the devil with his stitching techniques
textiles and shadow
saw his hands that never stopped
the clean amp of his forehead
tight intervals of flowers in his teeth
bright as an earing in the drain
and I made a force field with the wilderness in my face
and a fortune-teller’s neon sign
that glowed a painted light onto the street
and I said his name
and his crimes
three times against a curse
and found a coin on the ground and read the tiny date
and blessed a bag of weed
and a wild bore
I left my bones and my scars
and went out
like a poltergeist
totally empty

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. 

by this poet

poem

Every day try and write down one terrible thing.
One terrible thing—I’m filled with them,
carry each one
like an organ locked in a Coleman cooler.

Add a little color for emphasis.

I say my father’s surname to a migration of crows.
His name like a figure jumping out of an aerodynamic

2
poem

This time of year the birds fly in elegant mobs,
tragic and sinister against gathering clouds.
It always made me sad to see the one trailing at the end, who I thought was
falling behind, tripping like a head of a musical note;
dark dots making swirls over and

poem

Some nights she comes to act as courier,
midwife to our own skills.
Emily, come like a UFO to implant her genius in us.
Our Queen Mab, condemned to be the only woman mentioned
in the lyric omnibuses of her epoch;
easy scapegoat of men’s centuries,
she