Welcome to #FutureLitDarlings, a series dedicated to authors I (in my personal opinion) are really writing amazing, unique stuff. How it works: I call out a handful of authors, ones that might not get as much attention in and around various lit circles as they should, be it because they are new or simply underrepresented; the authors named are given a week to send me some writing to feature in subsequent posts here, on ENCLAVE. Simple and encouraging–as is my hope. The end result, ideally, is for this to be a continual showcase championing the depth and vibrancy of our community.
The first callout consisted of Matthew Bookin, Lauren Hilger, Frankie Zelnick, Elle Nash, Len Kuntz, Jordaan Mason, and Nadia de Vries.
The third author to reply was Lauren Hilger, and therefore, this post is dedicated to Hilger and her unique, powerfully-bold poetry. Have a look, you’ll see that she’s onto something exciting. We’re coping. –Michael J Seidlinger
Symphony No. 7 in A Major Op 92. Allegretto
I’ve come to where you’ve led me, knee deep in the untouched,
my shoes worn bare.
The night before
was a thin chain around my neck that a man tore off and replaced.
Before the dress rehearsal of the opera, alone,
a man stopped in the street
to touch the hem of my gown.
As if an old soldier I can’t fight anymore.
As if mayor
my words take on an edge of decree—
There are 7,000 structurally deficient bridges in America.
The corset too asks questions
of pressure and displacement.
There was to be music, desire of steam.
The band of pennants tied between two trees.
The only way I’ve known myself all winter,
a piped in piano trio,
escaping through the bowl of the mountain, floor of the forest.
This winter, I’ve known myself high gothic, Old February,
crowned with a black reach, thick with delicacy, in love
with every trim of grief.
The message on the tombstone read, much later it makes sense, how’s usa? how’s this?
Fuzz from the carpet, from everybody dancing.
Kierkegaard said terror would help,
perhaps a fear of beauty.
There’s something hidden, go and find it.
There’s a buzz, a song or the beginning,
the planks of wood, the dust like myrrh,
like some bearing blown up.
There’s me, there’s a secret, and there’s the feeling I am giving it away.
The deer has walked this path as me.
The hearts and broken hearts
are evidence she was here.
Snow world I share with deer hooves,
these high heel marks will tell you.
On the hike, I found a buck’s antler. It was in my fist
for hours, it scraped my leg, my grip changed.
Wouldn’t you like someone? You’re like me you’ve received the terrifying news.
Ripe and fit
for the madhouse.
tethered to ice.
Bands of light dig through.
I become my body exactly.
Like Sheet Music
A woman loses her mind all over the piano
and shouts when she plays.
There is nothing else I am supposed to be doing right now.
A stern woman turns the sheet music.
A name is said into the lit air of the concert hall.
I kept thinking as a kid I could do it, didn’t I feel that way?
I am colder now, proper, full of flop-eared devotion.
A long stillness on my face. Long on the simmered breathing, carbonated blood.
Don’t you know what it is to be a salesman?
The composer nods yes,
nods no to the violinist.
I must sit in your room like sheet music.
I stopped in a secondhand store to remember a name. Pizzicato panic
as the hornman and the organ have only been here sad,
as we hear a bar of Art Tatum’s MY EMBRACEABLE YOU from around the corner.
The night is a candle put out by rain.
Like Lotte wiping dust off of the pistol, just hand it here, we’ll put it away,
a crisp cut of silence unfolds you back away from me.
I remember as a kid crossing wires—someone else on the phone.
I forget how it sounds when I don’t say your name.
Shackled by my sight of you. Motion blind.
Your call, your letter: or true cruel loyalty.
I promised a cannon of myself.
How powerful that guarantee, it really goes.
The age in which we live reminds you.
Lauren Hilger was awarded the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, where she was a fellow in 2012 and 2014. Her poetry and reviews have appeared in Harvard Review Online, Kenyon Review Online, andPrelude among other journals. She serves as Poetry Editor for No Tokens Journal. For more, see laurenhilger.com.