Four Poems by Heidi Seaborn

        ~after Kim Addonzio

I want a backless
black dress that arrows
to my narrow waist
nesting like a sparrow
above legs that long
for patent leather pumps.
I want good bones
beneath cheeks that blush
at praise or the slight
inhale of desire.
I want fireworks to burst
into chrysanthemums
and lilies every night.
I want lilies to arrive
from a secret admirer.
I want to hold so many
secrets. Secrets stuffed
into closets, spilling
out of my drawers—
my bare truth. Isn’t
that how you see me now—
undressed, wanting, wanton?
And what if I tell you
my closet’s a cocktail of black
dresses and heels high
enough to scrape the sky,
that this poem is nothing—
a cry for attention
like subliminal advertising
or the color red?
But it’s too late, I’m already
naked in your head.
A version of myself,
conjured between lines,
slithered out of her dress.
And now I’ve exposed
you too. Imagine
that I invite you in
to this poem to right
the wrong impression
or share my indiscretion.
It’s up to you, dear reader,
what will you do?


Like Wolves
          “the plural pronoun is a dangerous fiction”
                                                      ~Ellen Bryant Voight

We navigate new terrain, you and I—

beseech wind and sun for energy, anything to sustain

as we walk further than either of us ever imagined—

carrying the carcass of weather on our backs.

O love, remember when we would gnaw each other

with flamboyant hunger?

Last night, I heard the wind chime in the smoke
tree and thought of the ease of leaving.

By morning, I’d forgotten.


When Seeking Forgiveness
        ~after Ellen Bass

Bring flowers—not mums or carnations or
anything cut and bucketed at Trader Joes.

Or anything common and lacking
fragrance like a tulip or sunflower. Use your nose.

Inhale like you’re practicing yoga. Or meditation.
Deep meditation is a good precursor for sorry.

You might visit an ashram to show true penance.
There may be one in California. But best

to travel to India, study with a yogi
to truly master breath. If you become enlightened

than all the better, lucky you! After all,
you could use some small compensation

for feeling badly. At this point
in the poem, I could confess my sin.

But I won’t. Let’s just say,
it’s best I plant a garden of flowers. A butterfly

garden of asters, milkweed, and goldenrod.
And raise lavender to lure honeybees

as a bonus gift to the universe.
And fertilize the soil, water diligently,

even joyfully. Such a thing of beauty—
water holding the light as it streams.

I will tenderly pluck off aphids, but invite
the lady bugs and dragonflies. Why not

make a long summer of it, crouched
beneath the hollyhock? Before cleaning

the filth from under my fingernails,
cutting the flowers, winding stems in twine—

no, in silk ribbon—into a bouquet.
There’s a language of flowers—floriography—

that I will learn and a million
ways to say Here, I’ve brought flowers,
forgive me.


The Spider Has Her Say

Start with this premise: We are all animals.
And some animals are gods.
Consider the placement of the eyes
or how far they’ve travelled.
The condition of their hooves, paws.

In some, the wind bellows. Hunger
sparks like lightening.
How feral their weather.
Others feather the day with song.
You hear what you want to know.

A few furless animals stand
like Aspen trees in winter, eyes
fixed on a frozen earth, seeing nothing.
Soon, I will retire to my knitting.
There is much to repair.


Heidi Seaborn is author of [PANK] Poetry Prize winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, the acclaimed debut Give a Girl Chaos and Comstock Chapbook Award-winning Bite Marks. Recent work in Blackbird, Beloit, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, diode, Financial Times of London, The Missouri Review, The Offing, The Slowdown, Washington Post and elsewhere. Heidi is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and holds an MFA from NYU.

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