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Kerri Webster

Kerri Webster is the author of three poetry collections: The Trailhead (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), Grand & Arsenal (University of Iowa Press, 2012), and We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone (University of Georgia Press, 2005). She teaches at Boise State University.

By This Poet


In Antigua

"In Antigua I am famous. I am bathed in jasmine
and pressed with warm stones."

—Carnival Cruise ad in the New Yorker

In Albuquerque, on the other hand, I am infamous; children
throw stones and the elderly whisper behind their hands.
In Juneau, I am glacial, a cool blue where anyone can bathe
for a price. In Rio I am neither exalted nor defamed; I walk
the streets and nothing makes sense, voices garbled, something
about electricity, something about peonies and cheap wool.

In Prague I am as fabulous as Napoleon and everyone
knows it. They give me a horse and I tell them this horse
will be buried with me, I tell them I will call the horse either
Andromeda or Murphy and all applaud wildly. In Montreal
I am paler than I am in Toronto. In Istanbul I trip over cracks
in the sidewalk and no one rushes to take my elbow, to say
Miss or brew strong tea for a poultice. In Sydney they talk
about my arrival for days. I sit outside the opera house
waiting for miracles, and when none occur in a fortnight

it's Ecuador, where the old gods include the small scythes
of my fingernails in their rituals and I learn that anything
can ferment, given opportunity, given terra cotta. In Paris
I'm up all night. Off the Gold Coast, I marry a reverend
who swears that pelicans are god's birds and numbers them
fervently, meanwhile whistling. Near Bucharest I go all
invisible, also clammy, also way more earnest than I ever was
in Memphis. For three Sundays I wander skinny side streets
saying amphora, amphora.