[cave nativity]

I was repetition & undercover
raised on fear of god’s wild leg
                                                                 no one told me
I was already inseparable from      One Life
to another                     I dream myself
rising from the days’ sheet of dimness
my borders ringing      [what I’m here for]
her voice, a bright incision, oxygen blue       :             a girl’s bone   found in a cave
                                                                       prehistoric torch-bone          singing hinge
                                                                                    match head in the stone’s middle
                                                                                                            pink & burning lung
                                                                 where did god end and where did she begin
                                                                                                                it’s an impossible
                                                                                                             question to answer
                         & can’t be stolen
                         despite the newsfeed
                         it laughs
                         it prevents nothing but unleashes its presence
                                                   this ongoingness the light gallops
I flutter & heave shadow
I was a girl         I am also
a gathering
from hand to wall

a sense of movement through the forms                   sweat on the flank
                                                                                           black, umber, red ochre
                                                                                           an echo of hooves & antlers
             [rustling chorus, flex of muscle]
the powers that be should listen
                           they can’t imagine
being shaken free       like water beads from fur
*Italicized portion modified from Richard Rohr’s “Daily Meditations,” from The Center for Action and Contemplation, 25 March 2018.


Cory Hutchinson-Reuss grew up in Arkansas and holds a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. Her poems have appeared or are set to appear in Drunken Boat, Four Way Review, Pangyrus, basalt, The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week, and RHINO Poetry, among others. She has been a Best New Poets nominee and the recipient of the Lynda Hull Memorial Prize for Poetry from Crazyhorse, as well as a finalist for the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize from Persea Books and the Lindquist and Vennum Prize from Milkweed Editions. She lives in Iowa City and serves as a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal.

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