"If you can't be free in your life, be free in your poems." - Mark Wunderlich
Erica Anderson-Senter is a poet who lives and writes in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her poetry can be found in various publications online, and her first collection, Midwestern Poet’s Incomplete Guide to Symbolism, was published by EastOver Press in 2021. She graduated from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College in 2016. She joins us remotely by Zoom from her home.
Welcome to the Poets Weave. I'm Romayne Rubinas Dorsey. Erica, what poems have you brought for us today?
IN THE NAKED NIGHT
This big-footed heart was born in a barn.
Two left feet, cloddish thing stumbling
through cornfields and early fog; she
doesn’t know her damn way home
and it is become a problem.
She’s fat-headed and bungles her every
attempt— she throws broken darts
and chugs cheap beer ‘til she falls flat
on her face. I will not be ruined
by this mismanaged spoil of meat
and mass and emotion. I will not let her
pull the reins this way or that way
through the piss and fire of our wild life.
She can not maneuver the pitfalls of a July
full moon. She’s a heavy lump who sits,
all thumbs, bumbling around for the words
she should have said. She doesn’t know
which fork is the salad fork, and what’s worse,
she doesn’t give a shit. All she wants, all
this little hill-billy heart wants, is her beloved
back so she can unfurl in the naked night.
Elegant and nimble by his touch in the naked night.
THE ONE WHERE A SMALL HORSE EATS THE HEART OF A MAN WHO LEFT
Me. I’m standing on back hooves of heartbreak-
bleeding out of small sores on my barrel,
neighing the woes of grief and pain and
abandonment on a perfectly sunny May morning.
And sure, yes, of course, people get tired of hearing
an exhausted horse caught in brambles.
But damn it if I don't still feel the sting of it.
Singing the urgency of this ancient tune — vibrations of it,
strings pulled from the sun of it—
galloping wildly, catching my shins on thorns.
Yes, me, the lame horse with a shotgun between my ears.
A man whose heart I’ve eaten holding my withers.
Yes, me, the pony running:
I’m tired of this, the wild animal of feral loss—
the ghost-beat of his heart stuck in my throat.
NOTES ON BEING A GHOST
So the first thing is: we are dead.
Each moon collapses in our vacant chests
from here on out. We can not start fires
even though we want. There will be resounding,
clear pings of moments where you’ll remember
between her legs or the blood in his neck—
but blood is stranger to us now. Now?
Now exists similar to sine, cosine, the rise
and slope of the earth’s fat thigh. Concepts,
concepts, concepts that are kindling
for trash-can fires and broken down barns
and maggots in the eyes of our mothers.
We will rarely remember the good:
moon-wash of a lover’s sin at midnight, dust
falling lightly through sun in your best friend’s window,
small weight of a warbler, the collective
noun for trout, walking a dog with old bones, and
blood that runs winter-river slow.
As a ghost you become obsessed with blood.
Aint that a thing? As soon as you can’t have it
and all of that.
Anyway—these words are nothing but ash.
And now, so are you. Yes, even under this moon,
this one right here, the one collapsing