One Poem by Idra Novey

Our poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected one poem by Idra Novey for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

Ana Mendieta, “Hojas Rojas Silueta (Quemada alrededor)” (1977), Lifetime color photograph, 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm) (© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection, LLC, image courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.)

Your Regard, World

after Ana Mendieta’s ‘Siluetas’


The world said all we can see is your body and she said see it here, world, in an open tomb in Yagul, overtaken by flowers.


The world said women are most legible when committing acts of self-sabotage and she said demented, demeaning world, watch these rocks of yours, watch a woman heave and breathe as she emerges from beneath them.


She said watch a woman carve herself out of her own hands, she said here I am—coming out from under your endless dirt, world, making it give way to my knees and legs and if a sublime inversion of death from beneath your rocks isn’t art, world,     then what’s your regard worth anyway?


And the world said but you’re the wife and she said please regard me from behind this mustache, this beard, this bleeding down my face.


She said world, you are green insect, spectre, man to plant.


She said shadowy planet, a woman can catch the light despite you, can outlast, digitized in twigs, rocks, ash and gunpowder, can flame back a million times
in burning silhouette.


*   *   *


Idra Novey is the author of the novel Ways to Disappear, winner of the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize, the Eagles Prize, and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Her most recent poetry collection, Exit, Civilian, was selected for the 2012 National Poetry Series.


Readers are encouraged to submit 3–5 poems as a PDF to Wendy Xu for consideration at [email protected].

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