It is my pleasure to share Josh Maday’s beautiful Cannibal’s remix: The Radiant Midnight Pallor of Obsidian,A Text Made (Mostly) from the Text of The Woman Who Lived Amongst the Cannibals by Robert Kloss
And this gorgeous trio of poems by Danielle Jones-Pruett:
I climb the narrow stairs, legs shaking.
My hands too weak to unbutton my dress,
I tug at the bodice, hear the material rip.
My muslin nightgown shudders down
my body, cool cotton rippling my flesh.
I climb into bed, pull the pearl-knotted
blanket to my chin. Light shines through
the thin white curtains mama made me
as a wedding gift. I’m trying to remember
the last time I was in bed during the day.
I wake to the nurse-lamp. My hair has been shorn.
I pass my hand over the prickle of what’s left
before falling back to dreams of too much sea.
Not enough air. How much time has passed
in the voices of my girls? They’re arguing
over whose turn it is to bake the bread, who
has to dirty her dress carrying in the kindling.
The baby’s fussing. Soon she’ll be wanting her milk.
He wakes to no heat in the bed. Dresses in the dark, not bothering to light the lamp. There’s a red squirrel on the branch outside his window. A sweater she’d almost finished slips off the chair-back, bone needles rattling onto the floor. He walks down the narrow staircase, wondering if it’s his body that’s gone crooked, or the house. Outside he looks for firewood, his boots sinking in the mushy yard. The garden has become a swamp. He hears a chirring whistle, moving in and out of time: it makes him miss the house in summer. Or even in snow, when you can see which way your steps have gone. He wants to tell her what it’s like to be alive like this. He doesn’t know what she’d say, but he knows her voice would rise and fall.
The Cannibal’s Wife
He sees far and straight, always marking
the line I’m to travel. It grows thinner
and thinner. When I complain, he binds
my feet with bones.
He knows when it will rain because insects
drop like stones. Knows the hot springs
are fat with fish. Always looks a wild dog
straight in the eye. He thinks of me
as a wild dog, impossible to tame. One night,
picking the meat from his teeth, he tells me
to get the gold in a man’s belly you must be willing
to build a big fire,
and I know he means he’d roast me
for even a glimmer of birds’ wings in my dreams.
I learn not to dream. Not to notice the glare
of water all around us.
I know everything he touches turns to dust: I live
with the taste of silt on my lips. And while he won’t
drink the wine I boil, believing it laced with sleep,
he will allow my songs.
Once he’s snoring, I bring out the dead bits he leaves
behind. Clavicles, knuckles, wish bones. I bathe them,
wrap them in sheepskin, until they’re almost as soft
as the babies I’ve lost to his hunger.
Danielle Jones-Pruett is assistant director of the Writers House at Merrimack College. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Memorious, Southern Poetry Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award.