Poetry: Felicia Zamora

In the make

In breath, you rise from your own esophagus; & how in thought of the word, the larynx prepares; you don’t remember when thoughts steadied themselves in your throat, bricks built; how a child climbs out of cave, squints toward sun, say, how bright as bright me; our innocence compacts in molars & jaw clicks; say how build me; little fists scaffold the epiglottis; the voice of you: want want want & in the chant, the build, the rise; how structure & formulation burrow us & we absolute & full of holes in the make, in the gape.

At the hand of other

& of desire; how we thirst below flesh, below cortex, below pelvis; the minute ticks we hardly keep at bay; how we often inside out; how we bells struck & our music resides first in body, then in {mindful this gap}; we bounce back to ourselves, to lick our own lips & feel the weight of our own motion & emotion: jellyfish in change of water’s influence; to be at the hand of other; say this too, desire; how afferent, we, always in lead toward; how we all nerves in gather, message message & our pupils dilate us; how we all wet & longing, cell to cell.

America, ain’t I a woman

See my purplish-brownish vagina; how you say my body one thing; define not by passage alone; estrogen, oh estrogen, how what develops me, unrequited so— fuck you & all your regulations; yell with me, one hormone does not a human make; however you dice me up: through my heart to medulla oblongata to cerebrum in crowd of skull, my core resides in electrical impulses, say waves waves waves, not your amber-bullshit grain {not about/about you, America}, in sparks, thoughts, un-collectable, all me categorization alludes; so yes, I am, & really fucking yes I am.

Winterize, oh America

All the trees complete their shed & shrug what summer left in hurried whimsy; say you too form a type of rot; how we all skeletal in the waning light of autumn; how the sun bores & illuminates, say core of us; in mesh of branch tips, a nest, batters late November gusts; how we must understand abandonment in this late hour; how we must endure the frigid, the slap; & a deep & cold tide readies in our hearts, prepares to lick our wounds in salted shame; & how American is not unlike a season: vast & brutal & unforgiving & wondrous to a fault.

In time, brave, brave

You must step out—cranium a cave & yes, a womb, but how your thoughts cavern so; out out you & taste dust comingled in the breeze; how these lips, chapped & longing, gateway to voice; do you remember, surge in esophagus in build, in build; what constructs in the lungs, in hug of heart, oh beat of us, keeps not at bay, reveals despite our will to tamp; voice braves us a new, demonstrates us on our behalf, alludes capture; & how simple this breath, this gust of air from our ribs; & yet out we must go to meet other’s voices, yes, say voices, because alone is not we; alone in skull before—leap.

These poems connect to a larger body of 30 poems consisting of the same form and together build a section of an in-progress poetry manuscript, which will be my sixth poetry manuscript to date. This set of poems explores the complex internal and societal relationships of voice and humanity, voice in otherness, voice in suppression, voice in absence, and voice in evolutionary necessity. What brings our voice to pause and take account of the self? What brings our voice to supersede our understanding of it? How are we, as humans, so full of inanimate organs, yet hollow enough to resonate inside bone, flesh, and mind, so much so, that we sing, even when not aware? How do we vibrate inside despite confusion and pain? What constructs voice and pushes it out of body? How, yes how, do we come to terms with voice enough to persist in its calling to us, as us? Ultimately, these poems deeply seek connection and understanding of the world in which we live, in a nation so confused and divided. In voice, we plead internal and external, and simultaneously comfort and amaze.

felicia-zamora-150x150Felicia Zamora is the author of the books Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize from University of Notre Dame Press (2017) and & in Open, Marvel from Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press (2017). She won the 2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize from Verse, and authored the chapbooks Imbibe {et alia} here (2016) and Moby-Dick Made Me Do It (2010). Her published works may be found or forthcoming in American Literary Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Meridian, Notre Dame Review, North American Review, Phoebe, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, Tarpaulin Sky Magazine, The Adirondack Review, The Cincinnati Review,The Michigan Quarterly, The New Guard, The Normal School, TriQuarterly Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse Daily, Witness Magazine, West Branch, and others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Colorado Review and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University. She lives in Colorado with her partner, Chris, and their three dogs, Howser, Lorca, and Sherlock.