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Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Gabrielle Calvocoressi was born in central Connecticut. She received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA from Columbia University. Calvocoressi is the author of the poetry collections Rocket Fantastic (Persea Books, 2017); Apocalyptic Swing (Persea Books, 2009), which was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea Books, 2005), which was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and winner of the Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award, a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas, the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review, and a residency from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. Calvocoressi teaches at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, North Carolina.

By This Poet

9

A Word From the Fat Lady

It isn't how we look up close
so much as in dreams.

Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts

crusty skin- not his fault 
they keep him in a crate

and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair

and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,

it is themselves they see:
the preacher with the farmer's girls

(his bulging eyes, their chicken legs)
or the mother lurching towards the sink,

a baby quivering in her gnarled 
hands. Horror is the company

you keep when shades are drawn.
Evil does not reside in cages.

Graves We Filled Before the Fire

Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds wide enough for planting
wheat or summer-squash but filled

with boys, a barren crop. Our lives
stripped clean as oxen bones.

Rocket Fantastic [excerpt]

He's really beautiful. When he's standing in the trees like that and thinks nobody sees him. He's like a stag. Which sounds silly but he is. The way the light shines on him. The way it bounces off his hair like spray from the sprinkler. And he doesn't know it right then. Because he's looking somewhere else. Maybe up at a bird. I was standing a few feet away and turned back because I heard him whistling when he thought I wasn't listening. He wasn't thinking of me. He was looking at a bird who was sitting in the tree and looking back at him. If his shirt was off he'd have been dappled golden in the sun coming through the leaves. He didn't notice me watching him without his shirt on. He was standing in the forest and the sun was coming through the trees and covering him so he glowed. I knew he'd be warm if I walked up and touched him. And probably not mad. He's like something in a movie or like a book we'd read in summer by the pool. He didn't see me looking because he was so peaceful staring at the bird.