A Poem by Cory Hutchinson-Reuss

Cory Hutchinson-Reuss

Cory Hutchinson-Reuss

Cory Hutchinson-Reuss grew up in Arkansas and holds a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. Her poems have most recently appeared in Pangyrus, basalt, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, wildness, and The Missouri Review’s Poem of the Week feature. She has been a Best New Poets nominee and the recipient of the Lynda Hull Memorial Prize for Poetry from Crazyhorse. She lives in Iowa City and serves as a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal.

Icon: Swallow

Those miniscule throats
lodged with circumpolar stars,
with cold song. I woke
from a mud-nest and hollowed
all my bones through wishing,
though I never wanted to be
a bird. How the wish turns
in on itself, how the winnowing
fork becomes the forked tail
that, when struck, tunes me
to a larger body of stars.

I can’t tell you why
every form passes into pieces
that can be sung, or why the word
winnow suggests a soft opening
and not separation’s pain.
Even now I have to convince myself
to trust decomposition,
its latent re-patterning.
Here in the long arc of death’s arrow,
flight changes me
from blood-form to quarter notes.

My branched throat’s call
turns the inside out of me:
I snatch my own hunger from the air,
move as a circling semaphore
the insects decipher. Their exoskeletons
vibrate at my coming. Little flock
of instincts, tonal swarm, together
we hover, a chord, repeating.