Rachel Custer

A Tale Told In Whispers

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 is the Poetry Editor and a reviewer and editorialist at O:JA&L. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in RattleOSU: The JournalThe American Journal of PoetryB O D Y[PANK], and The Antigonish Review. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rachel Custer is the poetry editor at O:JA&L.

Image: Melancholia by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on linen. 23 x 15.7 inches. 2014. By permission.

About the artist:
Alejandro Rosemberg is an Argentine fine artist trained by Claudio Bogino in the classical style of the Italian Great Masters. He studied color under Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of New York. His works are presently being exhibited in the United States and Canada, respectively represented by Principle Gallery in Virginia and White Rock Gallery in Vancouver. Passionate about teaching the techniques he uses, he invests much time and dedication to his drawing and painting classes and workshops held in Brazil, the USA, and Argentina. Rosemberg is the O:JA&L Featured Artist for February 2019.