Wednesday Nov 21

PenningtonSeth Seth Pennington is Editor-in-Chief at Sibling Rivalry Press and is author of Tertulia. He was editor of the journal  Assaracus and has been honored as co-editor of Joy Exhaustible by the American Library Association and by the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress for his editorial, layout, and design work with SRP. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his husband, Bryan Borland. You can purchase Tertulia here.

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Jealous Death

When you died before me,
I did not tear apart our garden. 
The gardenias bloomed desperate—
one white egg, one bride’s 
soft dress in a limo left—
into some black disease
until they were full
of worms and their own sleep.

I watched the garden thirst and rot from 
the sweating window all summer 
and a hedge took it over 
in the years later. I felt myself forgetting 
everything we ever planted; 
my mind and yard both containing more
and more wilderness.

There is such quiet in losing memory,
such quiet in the fear I have in this life alone.
I write down what I cannot forget:
what it was to have your breath
on my back begging water 
in the night. The kiss I’d feed you first.



Blue Postcard—NYC Oct. 2017
To: Maggie Nelson

In the city
            there is
                        less
blue you
            wrote. Near the
                        sky below someone’s
apartment,
            a bunting, a
                        bent tarp:
a slash
            of your small
                        well: flicking blue joy
above
            the backs of birds.
                        I saw it and remembered
how you came,
            the tarpaulin
                        on the roof shaking you
saw from Chelsea.
            I took its photograph.
                        It blurred gray with the world
around it.
            I thought this really
                        was your happiness: here
blue then not
            here blue.



For B, On the Anniversary that Begs Wood

Beautiful the way the sun turned down the birches at twilight and
running by them, I fell into that same dark they disappeared into, as if it were blue
youth, my own, the years stumbling with the sound of my name and the birds pulling me
across the country from the shadow to what is myself, like they pull me
now, so what I am is what I am; nothing, ever, less. What changes is in the

backyard, the barbeque grill left to rot and rainwater, left to
rust, growing its own iron garden (these gifts we believe in: nails in soil,
your dreams and my dreams talking). We’ve come to love
all our made mistakes because we will make them again but
next, we will know what it is they are worth, which is how we can know each other.



Between 30 Years and the Knife

It was this hour I was born
with 30 years between now and the knife

in the wall of my mother’s
abdomen; the cut I was brought through bravely

reluctant, some clinging thing,
purple and crying. 30 years to the hour and my husband, I am inside

him. He inhales amyl nitrate.
All of him is a simultaneous wave of relax, of rush. The blood

flows to his
crown. He reddens, reddens, pushes

toward purple. He cannot say
how everything he sees is that dark

shade of new life, that color
only seen with closed eyes. For a moment, he can’t say a word.