Featured Writer: Poet Rachel Custer’s “A Tale Told In Whispers”

Rachel Custer

A Tale Told In Whispers

“Melancholia” by Alejandro Rosemberg


Imagine coming around           inside a shadow box & bigger above you than God
a thick-lipped entomologist                 his insect-pin gaze

like flight I might as well be falling

like a long fall I might as well               be an ending
before which a final decision has been made                           before which an ascent

(an assent to the finality of hard ground)

when I was eight years old my limbs began lengthening
and by the time I finally realized

they were filaments             useless for holding my weight
& always knotting themselves              around pretty things

(not to mention me)

& what I have learned of restraint is how                terrifying it can be
six staff members           blanket-wrapping the husk of a small child

his eyes scrabbling like antennae toward
(large as the sun and so over him) them
the chemical smell of his fear

anything that has been large enough to cast a shadow over me
has been large enough to hold me

beneath it         to pin me down
to make of me             a display


About the writer:
Rachel Custer‘s first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, OSU: The Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and The Antigonish Review. Rachel Custer is the O:JA&L “Featured Writer” for February 2019. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer officially became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image:Melancholia” by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on linen. 23 x 15.7 inches. 2014. By permission. Rosemberg is a hyperrealist painter. Rosemberg is from Buenos Aires where he paints and teaches classical techniques. He attended the National University of Cordoba Art School where he received his degree on Fine Arts in Painting. He continued his study of classical painting based on the Italian Great Masters Tradition with Maestro Claudio Bogino. Alejandro Rosemberg is the O:JA&L “Featured Artist” for February 2019.