A Poem by Alissa Quart

by Mark Bibbins, Editor


Late marriage and late Modernism:
both anomic luxuries.

A post-natal mind
cleaves less decoratively
than those nursing double Ds.

Rub eucalyptus bottom balm
on a torn private sphere.

Suddenly trapped in a cloistered woman’s
novel. Titled All About My Stuff.

How the material got physical.

It’s not about not real just less fake.

Like babies, their mothers may
only see small pieces. Close-ups.
An exquisite corpse. Meaning:
the figure won’t cohere. Only
toes, hands. No body
we understand.

Baby says, “Circles go
on top of each other.”

All work is women’s work.

That’s bottom line balm.

A baby drinks Baby’s Only.
A cow or a goat made it. You’ll love it!

We want another drink
with some proof.
We are not unified,
not stacking toys.
How the material gets physical.
How we forget how to know.

Alissa Quart’s first poetry book, Monetized, is out this month with Miami University Press. She is the author of three non-fiction books and numerous features and is editor of the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project with Barbara Ehrenreich. Her poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books and elsewhere.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.