The Pilgrim on the Shore
Dear pink genital, you alone oblige me.
Meanwhile no one writes. This hand is tired,
I tell the sky. Where is the fleet, where
the horizon? I can hardly lift my head
to see the small, sand-colored shapes
waving from their buggies like maggots.
It's a picture from childhood,
that faraway, that sweet.
Dear old friend, all this time it was you
calling my name in strange places.
Dear physic, I'm sicker than you are strong.
Bring word to your brothers and sisters:
the villagers are hostile and inside me.
Somewhere in the distance there's fire.
Your green Arcadian hills do not interest me.
The bird-bright eyes of every bird cared for,
the way it is promised, the way it is written,
everyone fat on their share of sun and seed.
But I don't see you in the dark streak of a cat
crossing the street or the regal skunk in summer's heat
that strolls the sidewalk after dark, stopping to look at me
before moving on to its home under a neighbor's porch,
pushing its black-white weight through the latticework.
I don't see you in a head of lettuce, decapitated
and wet at the grocery store, singing in Orphic dissonance.
I look at your trees and see the night my mind rose up
and left the body's bed, the skin of the moon
in your teeth.
I begged you to make the mule of my mind
come back. Do you remember what you said?
Nothing. And in the silence after that--
my head without my body, singing on the riverbed.
The Nihilist Takes a Bow
A rigged coin toss concludes.
Nero plays a happy tune
on his portable radio.
He keeps winking at me
from his wicker wheelchair, pointing to his lap.
Someone takes my photograph
from behind a potted plant
and puts it on the Internet. Is this my fantasy?
It's so small and cross-eyed.
I press my face into the Astroturf.
The stage is strewn with my body.
From miles away I can still see
you--crowned and bloated, consulting a mirror
on the status of the future
of your hairline.
-from At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky, selected by Guest Editor Phillip B. Williams
BIO: Bridget Lowe is the author of At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013). In a 2011 interview with The Collagist, Lowe expressed her interest in figures “who are rejected by the same social groups for which they’re expected to perform.” Her poetry is accordingly concerned with those who feel they are both looked at and invisible, who are exploited yet remain deeply unknown. She is the recipient of a "Discovery”/Boston Review prize and received the 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship to attend the MacDowell Colony, and has been a scholar and a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Since 2009, Lowe’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry 2011, Boston Review, The New Republic, and Parnassus, among other publications. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA Program and Beloit College, and currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she was born.