recipient of the 2017 Fugue Poetry Prize, selected by Traci Brimall

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woman (n): a dessert made of strawberries


e.g. woman full of vital force           superfluous form

here the fertile field of mine             fallow


obscene (v): to tweeze each seed from sweet


  e.g. ink and fruit such bloody scenes


strawberries may cause         neurological deterioration

       cancer     metabolic disorders     developmental disabilities

            reproductive difficulty       divorce


canon (n): the curated burden of history  


e.g. I canon’t will myself to children

      and so we separately


transcendence (n): how do you summarize our silence


transgression (n): when the gun gets hold of my ovaries


            transcend the canon         enter


the future (n): what do we need now



  without obscene reminders

you may stop remembering me


future (v): when will you taste         like a long time ago

                                          feel      like stale sugar on unripe fruit


         transgression means

the nature of aversion     is separation

which means                  I future the future


wherein a black bag        a cat across my path

wherein I count each smoke spot         each blackened cervix


we must imagine                        a better future (n):

                                                             the life we want

e.g. the good grease

of a cervix-shaped onion ring


     the aversive future         strobes overhead, strawberry

    red as the blood          of the broken sonnet

my ex-husband loved

he said

     mother (v): the possibility by which

  you heal yourself


sitting with a peacock                armed with a cannon

             wearing a goatskin cloak

I mother the future


but don't want to make more

                                             in this useless transgression

of molecules rusted     red as strawberries


e.g. have I transgressed              the future's vital force

as transgression have I         favored the taste a woman


automatic response (n):

I don’t enjoy being human


when I'm done surviving

       this thicket of myself

whisper in my ear                       it's not real


call me

populona (n): the proper name for a woman who loses

the bride's girdle


or a sovereign protectress, inevitable and necessary

    outgrowth of fecundity


or a woman        peopled by epithets


reflection (n): a non-mother woman for whom I sacrifice

            a lamb     or white sow  


i.e. can we let each other want

                                                 what we want


i.e. don't you love the obscene scent

                                                 of a burnt match, lighting the canon


i.e. have you ever seen a woman

                                                  extract each seed from a strawberry

                                                  and plant them in herself