Cassie Donish

Every Body Wants to Reveal its History

the years were shot through
with flying and tangled                        cords of light
which I parted and                         stepping out
into the dark                             deserted grove

                                                         I watched my mother
                      as she'd                       watched hers
               who'd watched                        hers and this
       is a long maternal line                           of rifts
               with fathers                                   husbands
                                                                      lovers

                          the body wants
                 to open and spill                       its history
                   its history's                      all shuttered up                in skin

                                                my Irish blood's
                                        patterned tides                     beneath pale skin
                                  and pale eyes                        my casual pallor

                   the body wants                         to step outside
             of the body so I                        step into you
       evening air                                  or presence of
an almost intimacy

did I tell you how                       when my father died
a voice awoke                                   inside my blood
it was an anxious sound                        a Yiddish song
of agitated birds departing                        from mythical red trees
O wild prayer                                        of coalescing waters
have I been wrong                            in every moment
does the body want                              to fasten shut
and hide its ruptures                                its raptures
                                                            its nearness to the gate


Cassie Donish's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Best New Poets 2015, Quarterly West, Sixth Finch, Forklift OH, and elsewhere. A managing and poetry editor for the literary magazine The Spectacle, she is an MFA candidate and Olin Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. She co-edited February, an anthology.