Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Jennifer Loyd

By

 

 

 

I WANT TO TELL RACHEL CARSON ABOUT RAPE CULTURE

Rachel, what if my wish is to stand in the driveway
& not be ogled.
By the trees, by the Chevy, by
the mailman’s dog.

Rachel, what if I own a scarf
knitted by a man convicted of rape.
Green and beige.
And what if
I wear it around my neck.
When is he
a rapist—
while raping or forever.

Rachel, if I live in a rape culture,
what did you,
born in 1907, live in.
I worry
there were periods of time
when people were having rape,
but calling it sex.
Or not calling it anything.

Rachel, what to do
with the word monster.

Where are the question
marks, Rachel.
The driveway.
The scarf.
The world.

Aren’t these
questions.

 

JENN LOYD DISCOVERS THAT NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENED 
AT RACHEL CARSON’S CHILDHOOD HOME

The only things to see are a sassafras tree, doorglass,
a red-breasted robin invasion.

So I, who pathologize everything, am out
of place, even though I manage to visit

in the hour between rain and more rain.
I come to see the underbelly of the heart-shaped rock—

certified maggot-free—
the trap door leading to the bottomless well

of motherly love, and the father-archetype
misting between branches in the orchard.

I come prepared for the mess and swash
of biography. The docent likes questions,

but she doesn’t ask them. She strikes a tone
when the word homosexual comes up

two parts no, one part
why does this keep coming up?         

The river, down where the stacks smoke,
would be just visible in winter.

“In a bad economy,” she relates, “the townsfolk turn on her
memory.” A vine twisting back onto itself.

 

JENN LOYD ADMITS TO PLAYING PYGMALION WITH THE ARCHIVE

Porcelain Rachel Carson, how shall I dress
            you, your own drab browns or this stolen

green? What will I play you—Tchaikovsky’s Sixth—the open-heart
            surgery of it, or rain

on a sea urchin’s drum? Will I bend you
            over the microscope’s sterile light? Chassé you from closet

to pedestal? Will I ever stop
            shrugging on and off the biographer’s skin?

Chisel in fist, I imagine want
            onto you and then identify with your want.

Sculpture—a body tearing into a body.
            I would equip you

with a sway bar. With vine-black nights,
            charred grapevines and salt, me at your feet.

***

Photograph of Jennifer Loyd by Noah Baldino.


Jennifer Loyd is a poet based in West Texas and a PhD student at Texas Tech University. A former Stadler Fellow and editor for Copper Nickel, West Branch, and Sycamore Review, she also holds an MFA from Purdue University. Her poems and prose, which explore the intersection between private voice and public narratives, appear in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The Shore, Colorado Gardener, and elsewhere. More from this author →