» Poetry

Open Season

Like any good strategist, you keep an ethical

distance, stepping over milkweed and turning on

the radio. It’s hard to tell when you’re approaching—

everyone wears an orange vest over her coat.

Cooking without speaking, I feel like an actress

playing a wife—soft cheese with honey, pickled

cabbage, pale tomatoes from the roadside store.

The pond is frozen and the snow has no content.

I understand the animal only if it’s packed

in Styrofoam and thawing on the kitchen counter.

Even then, some parts are too much for me.

The bulbous head of the hydrangea hits the window.

You come in. We eat marrow and cartilage.

I wanted the snow to be like snow from television—

fat and legible. How rarely I feel I am anywhere.

I hate the animal when it looks like what it is.


Madeleine Cravens

Madeleine Cravens is an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where she is a Max Ritvo Poetry Fellow. She was the first place winner of Narrative Magazine’s 2020 30 Below Contest, and her poems can be found or are forthcoming in Narrative, Frontier Poetry, New Ohio Review, Raleigh Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in Brooklyn.