Caroline Crew
Covering Emily Toder
& Alice Notley

Interior Pastoral

after Emily Toder

I’ve known a skyline crushed
for being an unavailable quotient
I have never prayed for a more linear horizon

Mostly I have prayed for people knowing
I am people and a selfish animal
This way I am never alone

The people moving around outside perhaps
just putting thoughts of their movement outside
so untouching with their prayers

and their bodies an orbit to themselves
It is convenient to number them in accordance
with the treetops fogged into the window

giving value to the real world and vice-versa
much like making love with a number in mind
like this is when I become a mountain

Once I was mountainous and so constantly unmoved
Much better to erase yourself into your body
through less organic masterpieces

A personal recommendation
if one orgasms imagining oneself
as Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus

you can emerge as the small green
plants emerge in March
caffeinated with Spring


“the heartlands and the furniture”

after Alice Notley

Like everyone I only want to know what happened
at the beginning. Was there a beginning and was I there.
Empty eyes of stars throwing light, refusing the story
with their silk annoyances. They have no memory of growing.
This body will never be stained glass for light to pass through.
What smooth pebbles it found in the beginning, what smooth waters
perforated with earth. It is easiest to walk alone. Who is hunting
who at night, when the night is swelling. On the softer ground
I wandered closely to a soul but, not speaking, each part prowled
around the other waiting to begin. Before I was born
I had no dreams of this, only the leftover objects that I brought back
from those dreams. Once, the soul was a tiger in miniature.
Once it was a mirror on the floor. Walking across it, my feet appeared
certain of an origin in silver flight.
I would not mind finding these things in the moon.
Once it was not there but crusted in lilies,
a tree waiting for what became a city before I had built it.
Once it was the battered milking stool in my mother’s kitchen,
red paint flaking on a darkish floor and feeling its poor small legs creaking.
When it was burnt for lack of utility, it was no longer the soul.
I do not think the soul was ever the trash heap
where what couldn’t be burned ended up,
though the soul was once fire that refused to dance its own dance.
Once the soul braided itself into a river, goading me at its bridge.
Once it was my body. Water is always costly,
as a body is always costly without questions of money.
What I had most wanted was a music resembling pine trees
to explain how a forest forms, and then for the forest to form.
As a green landscape many of the claims of suffering are false.
Once I suffered as a verdant thing in the dormant,
small drops of liquid: here blood, here rain. The most
swaying blade of grass in its mass of sisters, I was just in the wind
to move. Just in the wind to move. Refusing to grow,
staying instead on point, even at this length I was a disobedience.
When I was planted in the earth I could not leave it.
Tired of waiting, I dreamed a beginning. There were seeds
all over the air and I became one of them, in theory
hauling my small home to keep me untethered.
Wandering every flyover, there was little to be counted in flowers.
A swathe of land, a swathe of land. Each a gold parcel.
How it could be bolts of silk to weave into a dress
belonging to some empress invented only for her fall
in which she gracefully disintegrates the sky, pooling
gilded and soaking once more into the earth to save it.
An ability to break into small parts in a smooth and pleasing way
is often the most fluid means to regard beauty,
a melody made in fragmenting. All flowers crushed underfoot
but what survives lurking in the broken grasses.
Look what survives all serpent all winding all writhing.
Who is it listening to their whispers licking, Cassandra
is that you. When I was an earthbound thing I had nothing
to see. The cold and dark earth my only aspect
and snow like an invention of diamonds. I remembered the sun.
Men owned the light, but anyone who dreams
has the darkness so it seems good place to find paradise .
I did not wander back to the beginning. I did not begin.
The sky will backdrop all eventual deaths, even in boring weather.


Caroline Crew edits ILK journal. Her poems have appeared in Bat City Review, PANK, Cream City Review, and Salt Hill Journal, among others. She wrote the chapbooks ‘small colours like wild tongues’ (dancing girl press, 2013),‘The Polychrome Clinic’ (Midwest Writing Center, forthcoming 2014) and, with Chris Emslie, ‘Your Stupid Fortune Gives Me Stupid Hope’ (Furniture Press Books, forthcoming 2014). Currently, she lives between Old England and New England.