We are excited to share poetry by Rita Feinstein and Sarah McCartt-Jackson, whose chapbooks have been selected by editor Kiki Petrosino for inclusion in the Mineral Point Poetry Series this fall. Rita Feinstein’s Life on Dodge will be available October 16, and Sarah McCartt-Jackson’s Calf Canyon releases November 13.


Poems by Rita Feinstein

from Life on Dodge

When you left, there was a sound
like the scraping of a dagger
being unsheathed from my heart,
and in the left-behind hollow,
a red bat came to roost.
Good, I thought, because bats go
where moths go and moths go
where the light is, which means
there’s still something like a streetlamp
in me, however dusty and guttering.
But where its corona bleeds to black,
you can still hear it—the sleek shriek
of steel against bone, the infinite echo
of you pulling away.

 
 

You have gone, and so can I.
I can go to a red planet
with no name, no coordinates.
There is no wind here, no dust,
nowhere to stake a flag. No rotation,
no view. No ocean under the crust
and no ice at the poles. There is
no gravity, no atmosphere,
and no one to name its craters.
There is not a robot to help repair
the spaceship I don’t have.
There are no giant worms in the sand.
There is no sand. There is nothing here
but not enough of it.

 
 

This planet is my home now—
might as well name it. I name it Dodge,
in the hope that someday I will
get the hell out of it. Or that it will
get out of me. It lodges deeply
in my hips, constricting its fist.
It’s a hard round ache in my breasts.
I can taste it on the back of my tongue,
sour like beef blood. The last time
I hurt this much, we were too poor even
for a bath plug, so you filled a plastic bag
with sand and let the drain suck it into place.
It was the best you could do. The iron-orange
water held, but so did the pain.

About Rita Feinstein

About Rita

Rita Feinstein is a graduate of Oregon State University’s MFA program. Her work has appeared in The Cossack Review, Permafrost, Grist, and Spry Literary Journal, among other publications. She lives with her husband, who is a lawyer, and her dog, who is not.



 

Poems by Sarah McCartt-Jackson

from Calf Canyon

 

Drought

 

 
It begins with drink. Our eyes drink color and reflect it back to our brains, which drink shape. Shape
drinks shade, leafshadows scrambling on their stems like starlings stuck to wire. Wire drinks voices,
spliced threads chopped apart and ribosomed back together in a winding ladder propped against our
earlobes. Our earbones drink the wet sounds of leaves unfolding newborn fists, the desperate sound
of fish gills in a boat bucket. Our hands drink the wormblood and hook. Our foreheads drink sweat,
our forearms hair and knuckle. Our ankles the mosquito tongue, dry of our neighbor’s blood.
Boatplanks drink scales and shoe soles and cigarette ash and ocean fog and the heat of sunlogged
turtles, which drink the cloverstem milk, which drinks the roothairs, which drink the cavelight,
which drinks the batwing, drinks the limestone, drinks the fossilbone slipped between a molten
stone harvest. The inner core drinks iron-tasting pennies, nickel. Not enough liquid in the world to
fill its iron core. And this is how in drought I learn a rogue billet does not raise a doe’s eye, how a
doe does not lift from drinking.

 

Wildfire

 

 

We watched the fires spread.

 

Neighbors set up their lawn chairs

 

to watch their neighbors’ houses burn.

 

Which is how I caught a bottle

 

to the face when I threw a cigarette

 

butt out the window. And how

 

the bottle shattered and fractured

 

the windshield after my jaw and how later

 

he didn’t remember (or said he didn’t)

 

how the windshield cracked,

 

and I told him,

 

and he said that wasn’t true.

 

And so it wasn’t true.

 

Creston

 

I did not see the moonwashed lake behind our trailer or the yellow finch in the avocado tree. I did
not see the fire, the smoke of which we watched from the mustard thistle lawn. I did not see the
coyotes eating the dead cattle or the California mouse while it was still alive. I did not see old Tim
(all thirty-three and married) wreck on Shell Creek Road with a nineteen-year-old passenger in lip
gloss and cutoffs, when it was not just ten days before he took me to a baby’s grave on our way back
from buying a pack of cigarettes, and me seventeen. The freeze on the vineyard edges. The lizard
drinking from the wild pig bleed. The shotgun slug through the throat of a barn owl, hanging by a
wing from its owl house.

 

I saw what happens when girls—who are not supposed to—witness their babies’ faces. I saw the
helicopters circling like released seeds, their gondola buckets of water dangling. I saw the cattle
troughs dry as the Camatta creekbed and cow bodies bulked in the live oak shade. I saw a peregrine
falcon tearing the mouse bones, beak to skull, hunger coagulated in its nares. A flatbed truck with
whiskey and paper cups, an empty graveyard with a moon big as a belly. Reservoirs turned to sulfur.
Pig hooves charred in the barbecue pit. A fifty-three-year-old owl perched in the left ventricle of my
heart.

About Sarah McCartt-Jackson

About Sarah

Kentucky poet, folklorist, and naturalist Sarah McCartt-Jackson has received honors from and been published by Copper Nickel, Bellingham Review, Indiana Review, Journal of American Folklore, The Maine Review, Tidal Basin Review, and others. She is the recipient of an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, and has served as artist-in-residence for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shotpouch Cabin (Oregon State University). She is the author of Stonelight (Airlie Press), which won the 2017 Airlie Prize, and two chapbooks, Vein of Stone (Porkbelly Press) and Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River (Casey Shay Press), which won the 2015 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize. She works on a farm in Louisville.

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