Walking Off the Map. Poems by Kate Fox. Number 2.11 in the Seven Kitchens Press Editor’s Series.
Cover: cropped image of “Relevant Bones,” glass art by Cindy Dubielak: www.facebook.com/amothersworkglass
Published: March 1, 2015 [125 copies]
Kate Fox‘s poems have appeared in the Great River Review, Green Mountains Review, Valparaiso Review, Mount Hope, and West Branch. Her chapbook, The Lazarus Method, was published by Lent State University Press as part of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Series.
Kate earned her Ph.D. in American literature/creative writing from Ohio University, where she worked as an instructor, editor, and assistant to the president. After serving for several years as the editor of the Ohioana Quarterly book review journal, she currently runs Textual Healing, a freelance writing and editing business, and organizes Women on the Line, an annual poetry reading held to raise awareness for My Sister’s Place, a local domestic violence shelter. She lives in Athens, Ohio, with her partner, Robert DeMott, and their two dogs.
“In her new series of dramatic monologues Walking Off the Map, Kate Fox explores the strangest terrains of love, whether Everest summit, Polar tundra, or Romantic-era manifesto. This chapbook is a startling and unflinching look at men hailed as visionaries and the women in their lives imprisoned by those visions. Hilarious, salacious, and devastating, Walking Off the Map charts marriages stalled at the intersection of nostalgia and necessity.”
—Shelley Puhak, author of Guinevere in Baltimore
Mary Shelley: Heart of Hearts
“I think on the heart in which the imagination
of [the deed] was conceived.”
—from Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
Trelawny raked it from your ribcage, tempered it
in waves that scoured the shore like a dishrag. Byron,
sickened by the body’s watery ooze, staggered into the surf,
as Trelawny wrapped his blistered fist in gauze,
swaddled the rest around your stubborn heart, slipped it
into his pocket for the journey back to Pisa.
Ferrogosto: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Revelers
danced in the piazza, as skyrockets bloomed like spirea,
drizzled their fiery seed into the crowd, as beside me,
a woman, backlit, whispered, “And your husband, my dear?
Where might he be tonight?” I closed my eyes to the burning.
What bones could cradle it? What body could bear its weight?
I loved you, Shelley, or thought I did. To believe otherwise
would have damned me, too, and I had the living to consider.
So I crushed the mineral fist, pressed it among pages of Adonais,
kept it long after you offered my body to Hogg as “common
treasure,” even after you complained of my “conjugal neglect.”
I, whose grief unleashed a monster, worked to keep you alive
after the furnace consumed everything that would burn, leaving
only that defiant, calcified muscle in the ash. And what of it now,
you ask, with all of us long dead? I answer with fair copies of poems,
letters stripped of their “Hellenic strain,” ringlets curled like fingers
in small lockets, and the one flawed creature I loved beyond all reason
because, even unnamed, it hunched over its creator’s body and grieved.