Note from the Editors

 

   SEEING RED 

    ENDU(RED) ADMI(RED)
    DESI(RED) WONDE(RED)
    RUMO(RED) ADO(RED)
    ENAMO(RED) INSPI(RED)
    DISCOVE(RED) SAC(RED)
    HUNGE(RED) WONDE(RED)
    EXPLO(RED) FEATU(RED)
    AUTHO(RED) SEA(RED)
    DA(RED) UNCENSO(RED)
    SOA(RED) ADVENTU(RED)

 

 

    


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Bifurcated: My Response

For two or three weeks past the Associated Press has been advised daily of the oratorical triumphs of Matilda Fletcher…I am constrained to ask the assistance of the local press, telegraph operators, enthusiastic young men throughout the country, and the public in general, in putting an end to such inflictions…It is hoped this card will convey a much needed hint to all over-modest orators, whether cylindrical or bifurcated. ~ from “A Card from a Chicago Man on Modesty and Associated Press Dispatches,” Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 1, 1872


There’s always a moment for discussion.
From half circles in a hall of law, challenges

as attendees reposition hands and thighs,
which foot swings to the offbeat melody

of thought. Their sentences unfurl in smoke.
They jostle, shuffle feet, try to have me, bag me,

but I flip their phrases back. I tease. I twist
their words around my finger, figure, tongue.

Snakes twine along my outstretches arms
as the audience leans forward unable to breathe.

Their bodies petrified by the hiss and coil
of my hair. Their mouth tempted by the apples

I juggle on the stage and spiral through light.
The man named “Smith” may call me bifurcated,

Medusa, Eve, python, viper, or whatever.
But see how I charm the metaphor.

See how the cobras rise from the basket
to the hypnotic music of my voice.


Laura Madeline Wiseman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English. She is the author of three chapbooks, My Imaginary (Dancing Girl Press, 2010) a finalist in four national contests, Ghost Girl (Pudding House, 2010), and Branding Girls forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in MARGIE, Feminist Studies, Prairie Schooner, and Arts & Letters. She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, the Mari Sandoz fiction Award, and the Stuff Memorial Fellowship, Grants from the Center for Great Plains Studies and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and five Pushcart Prize nominations.


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