poem index


Emma Bolden

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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


                             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



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


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