Much Madness Is Divinest Sense

by Courtney Kalmbach

emily dickinson     would you place a tea towel on your head in the middle of a forest     would you

sing to an apple snail sliding across your boot     would the apple snail write a pink script of apple

snail eggs on your shoe       would you slough the billet-doux bubbling amuck       or would you let

another hour hatch     meaning you’re curiouser if porcupines can go bald    let the apple snail slip

away toward other novel establishments        trot home with a premonition that will overcome you

take off your boots & change into your detective dress     your detective dress being a nightgown

sleep like a mink in the day             then wake to the sound of an egg’s roll off the kitchen counter

ponder the egg’s squiggly membrane for poison or pickle         wander into the living room to see

snails & soon-to-be-snails        goop stacked like dirty dishes        to you the snails sob: emily our

           to you the snails cry: decide decide           for whom you are a corset           for

whom are you a cane                  for whom you will sabotage                  for whom you will embrace

feel your hands then hear your hands fan into leaves         the apple snails are dew & you are their

glossed grass     their cherry pie pulled thin     thin as elbows at the slaughter of sweetness

Courtney Kalmbach (she/her) is a queer midwestern poet and creator of Poet’s Gramarye. She received her MA in Creative Writing from Miami University and an MFA in Poetry at The University of Alabama. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Plainsongs, and Red Ogre Review.