Amanda Crum has been chosen as the first Poet of the Quarter for her poem The Exchange.
The poem was inspired by a life event; in April, I had to have a hysterectomy due to health issues. It was a scary time and I was relieved when it was over, but then I realized what a toll it took on my body and mind. I began thinking about the entire process and how we treat our bodies over the years. I had been looking at the situation as, “my body is failing me” when I should have viewed it as “I’ve failed my body”.– Amanda Crum
The Exchange My Body is the kind that doesn’t know a good thing when she has it: fair skin without lines, thick sheaf of hair without silver threads. She is ruthless, sometimes precognitive in dreams: when the blood came she made sure I saw it first in sleep. Now that it’s gone, she sends me phantom-limb images of scarlet wings on cotton, as though she can’t quite believe it will never come back. In my youth I was unkind to her. I fed her sugar and honey with nothing substantial, I kept her awake for days and berated her when she had the audacity to feel weak. I handed her over to people who mistreated her. I had always wanted to be a mother but I never saw what a dreadful caregiver I could be. I couldn’t even give her water when her very bones were dry. Now I want better for her. With age comes the wisdom that her failings are my own so I check in every day, keep her hydrated, pet her cheek and whisper that everything will be okay. I tell her I’m proud of her and what I would do for her-- even give up sugar and honey in exchange for an offering of blood.
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful”Rita Dove