wicked alice| fall 2010

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Kimberly Grey



I once met a girl whose name rhymed 

 with orange. She was all pronouns: 

Her You She. She took what was not beloved 

 by her and smashed it. She believed nothing 

in the world belonged not broken. At night, she’d kiss her 

 pronouns, tuck them in beside her. 

There are many variables in this equation. She is 

 orange-like and her skin is made of citrus. She is 

almost the color of fox, pumpkin, monarch butterfly. She is 

 a constant she. A her defined by the biggest 

riddle in words. Once a man held her up to the light, 

 told her she was like a sapphire, or a lieblicher blue. 

She liked blue, knew it led to other things in the world –

 a bead of dew on the grass, a baby's shoe. 

Yesterday she imagined she was silver. Today she thinks 

 she hears an owl calling her name. 






Mathematics Ghazal



In your measurable body I search for a number.

By night I find zero, everything becomes number.


Twice I’ve tried to add infinity to the length of two,

what your mouth forgot became a negative number.


If I subtract you tomorrow or today, you’ll just be added

somewhere else, become someone else’s number.


I can’t count the immensity of a lover when you’re gone.

Each cell unloved multiplies until it’s an incalculable number.


Large masses move to large masses like strangers to strange

places. You didn’t know this love would make you number?


You said  One pretty, naked girl is worth a million

statues.  I wonder if I am the girl or the number.




How to keep the one you love

Tell her she’s a bluet, but not blue.

And if it's color that she wants, tell her she’s a blackbird, that she’s flying.
That she could only ever be flying.

If she's a number, tell her she’s more than ten but less than twelve.
When you say this mean her legs, mean the long number 1's wrapped around your back.

Tell her you feel most religious when she’s sitting naked in a chair.
Tell her religion is all you need.

Take her hands off your hips and put them on a statue's hips.
Tell her This is hardness. This is what it’s like to want.

If she’s a herring, tell her she’s a dead herring. That she’s glowing.
That she could only ever be glowing.

And of all shapes: the circle.     Days: Tuesday.      Words: Brimful

When you take her to bed, take her slowly.
Then put her in parenthesis and keep (her) there, always.



Kimberly Grey's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in TriQuarterly, Linebreak, New York Quarterly, The Awl, The Brooklyn Review, and other journals. She lives in Queens, NY and will teach contemporary poetry at Adelphi University in the spring. Her website is www.kimberlyMgrey.com .