10-13-2015

Christina Stoddard 

Bodies of Two Girls Found In Woods

The sharp ruin of flies. A chilly morning
next to the river where steelhead spawn. 
Sunlight bright as a railroad spike. 
Clouds bitten by tamaracks. Wind slicing
the leather throats of frogs.
Sweet gums bruised by woodpeckers.
The slow fat rat of the river
gnawing at twenty cold toes.


The Oxford Unabridged

was how I learned the word fellatio,
though I paused to look up orgasm
and my understanding of male genitals was abstract
at best. I had read the word fellatio in the newspaper,
Local section, in a story 
about three runaways, two boys and a girl. 
A man held them in a cabin
for two weeks. He raped the girl
and forced the boys to perform fellatio on him
repeatedly. I didn't have to look up rape--
I'd known that word since fourth grade 
when Takeisha told me 
that her uncle took off his pants
when he babysat and we told
our teacher. But I read 
the definition of fellatio
and I considered what I knew
about repeatedly. 
The man picked up the kids 
hitching on the freeway 
and said he'd take them as far
as Enumclaw. The girl 
gave her testimony yesterday, 
which sounded strange when I read it 
because in our church, 
testimony was when we all stood up 
to bear witness of Christ 
on the first Sunday, in lieu of a sermon. 
The article said the girl had a glass eye.
The man stabbed out her real one
when she tried to escape. The man 
told her: I will not kill you. I will 
take some things away.


Raped Girl's Mad Song

Christmas. A chorus of angels in the trees.
I'm the girl their hymns forgot.
The wolf, he's here--he's taken me.

He asked directions with yellow teeth.
I helped a stranger, as I've been taught.
A chorus of angels in the trees.

The dumbstruck stars have gone to seed,
dark as bone, clipped blade, a kicked-in lock.
The wolf was here--he's ruined me.

Siren, slattern, witch. Girl reduced to beast. 
I touch the grafts that didn't take, knots
of neck and cheek. Weep now, angels in the trees.

I'm bruise and brimstone, dragged out to sea--
I'll have your skull for a flowerpot.
I'll hunt you like you hunted me.

Seven trumpets raise up my jubilee--
you're the one who will say please. There's not
an angel left among the trees.
The wolf, she's here. I'm her. She's me.

                               

-from Hive

BIO: Christina Stoddard is the author of Hive, which was selected by Lucia Perillo for the 2015 Brittingham Prize in Poetry (University of Wisconsin Press). Christina’s poems have appeared in various journals including storySouth, DIAGRAM, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Originally from Tacoma, WA, Christina received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was the Fred Chappell Fellow. Christina is an Associate Editor at Tupelo Quarterly and a Contributing Editor at Cave Wall. She currently lives in Nashville, TN where she is the Managing Editor of a scholarly journal in economics and decision theory.