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Dress Rehearsal

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Branches etch the film of ice
on the studio window. A crow looks in,
hopping and shrieking when I dance
in my black tutu, trimmed with silver.

The ballet master says, you are its mother.
But in a crow’s sky-knowing mind
could I be so misconstrued?
Out of the blackest

cold-wet air, the crow seems molded.
The stars will not wake up to guide it
back to the creek of shadows
where it was formed. Practice, practice.

I am smoke in darkness, climbing away
from a burning hut, in an otherwise empty field
on which the fire is slight and low,
and the rest of it is snow.

Source: Poetry (November 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Dress Rehearsal

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  • Chloe Honum grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. She earned a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from the University of Arkansas, and a PhD from Texas Tech University.

    Honum is the author of The Tulip-Flame (2014), which was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, won the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and a Texas Institute of Letters Award, and was named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. She is also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (2017). Her awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kerouac House of Orlando, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Along with Kevin Prufer and Dorothea Lasky, Honum served as a guest poetry editor for the 2017 Pushcart Prize XLI anthology.

    Honum is currently an assistant professor of English...

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