Brittany Cavallaro: “A Taxonomy of Sex”

Over the past several weeks, we have featured Pushcart Prize-nominated work from recent issues of Poetry Northwest, accompanied by photographs from the Poetry Northwest Instagram feed. This week: a poem from Brittany Cavallaro, one of our nominees for the 2014 Pushcart anthology.

A Taxonomy of Sex

Chart your own arrangement. As in: the star’s heat
looped into the black hole and looped again,
this time digital, the thrust of its run pre-Coliseum,

pre-violin. Rest it in the specimen jar between
the whalebone corset and both his rough hands,
between Fialta and your Fiat’s backseat, between

Nabokov and every dumb-sounding twenty-something
in heart-shaped glasses. Between your socially mediated
game bag, tagged and arranged from biggest

to angriest or most likely to contradict your father
over golf. Between white sheet and ripped sheet
and blooded hung out the window as proof. Between

alive and will stay that way. Between each dying star
an emptiness that collapses, and it happens every collapse,
the Romans kill for it, the lover lifts a single finger.

BriCavallaro_zps72bfb62eBrittany Cavallaro is the author of Girl-King, forthcoming from the University of Akron Press in 2015. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Gettysburg Review, Tin House, and the Best New Poets anthology, among others. She’s the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is a PhD student.

“A Taxonomy of Sex” appeared first in the Spring & Summer 2013 issue of Poetry Northwest.