Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer


You come to a clearing     A clearing is a place you enter into after having been lost within something     like a hedge maze     or a thicket     or a forest of thought     but before you’ve actually found your way out     A clearing is not a way out     In the clearing     things you had lived without—     direct sunlight     sky     rainclouds     open air     The thicket is around you     but you photosynthesize automatically     Animals appear     spotlit     like a parade—     an elephant     a Siberian tiger     hippopotamus     oryx     zebra     —but miniature like kittens     And the clearing     now     so immensely vast     All of these emerged from the thicket     All of them     were in there with you 

STEPHANIE ELLIS SCHLAIFER is a poet and installation artist in St. Louis. She is the author of the poetry collection Cleavemark (BOAAT Press, 2016) and The Cloud Lasso (Penny Candy Books, 2019), her debut children's book. She has an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her poems and art have appeared in AGNI, Best New Poets, Bomb Magazine, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, LIT, The Offing, the Poetry Foundation site, and elsewhere. Recently she has collaborated on an installation with Cheryl Wassenaar called The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs.

Issue Six
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