Rachel J. Bennett


To be Castle is to be neither more nor less

To be Castle is to be neither more nor less
               than stone, & it can be eventful to be

stone. Stone makes no distinction between
                a pocket in the river & dried flowers,

between worry & a grave. Once I was
                asked to write down all the ways to use

a stone, & I did not once think of Castle,
                though Castle may always have been

thinking of me, if stone can move
                like a wave toward someone miles away,

the child-turned-mother years later. The stone
                moving toward me is not from a slingshot

because I’m not a bird & not from a cliff
                because I’m not a road. If I’d known

what I know, I might have written
                a thing to imagine myself into or a thing

by which to hold the passage of time. I keep
                many stones on my desk to prove

something about having been here, a mayfly
                to geology, & turn to them as consolation

when my body goes difficult to inhabit
                yet stubborn in its need to stay afloat.


Hilled, a rise, a geological condition, expanse

Hilled, a rise, a geological condition, expanse
of time in body, choreography of biology or

pride, doubled in blood, faint jellies, the spring,
the decision to raise a white flag, dealing cards,

grafted, a gilt horizon, between two kinds
of clock, anti-clock, elusive animal, in the river,

in the river’s idea of itself, twin universe, mirror,
praxis, a rollicking nomenclature, awash with

change, ghosted youth, a paper lantern, names
for fireworks, gone furry or bright, the memory

of wine, unspooling silk, at war, doing improv,
singing the sad songs, chasing the big leagues,

the off-track, a meditation on sleep, the forgetting,
the accounting, beyond years, gone to organs,

pale treatise, truce, an acoustic vision, a severed
head, in filigree or flashback, donning the solitude,

a cairn, turned aroma or feathers, warm boots,
the arguing state, revelation, pinning the map,

the crazy king, pop rocked, the way home,
with tongues, at the symphony, unbounded, waning

days, perfecting the triangle, in long vestments, back
from the campaigns, inside out, etching the glass:

these new euphemisms for the old euphemisms,
such as teeming or bound, bacon in the drawer,

blistered, in pod or in pig, a roast or a bun or
a cake in the oven, up the pole, up the spout, with

hope, in sweet waiting, in pup or in calf, & also
just pregnant, as in pause, a thing full of meaning.

Rachel J. Bennett is the author of On Rand McNally's World and Game, both from dancing girl press. Her poems have appeared in journals including Big LucksBOAATBodegaFive QuarterlyLEVELERSalt Hill JournalSixth Finch, and Vinyl Poetry. She grew up on the Illinois-Iowa border and lives in New York City. Find her at www.racheljbennett.net.