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Nursery

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We opened the door to the fairy house
& took our tea on matching pebble seats.
Somehow we got out of there alive

though something crystalline of us
remains in that dark, growing its facets.
We opened the door to the fairy house

at the oak’s black ankle. You asked
What could happen? as you disappeared
somehow. We got out of there alive

the strange tea still warm in our bellies.
Inside, our hosts gave damn few answers.
Who built that door? Is this a fairy house?

They had no faces yet. We spoke
into their quince-bud ears. You wept.
Somehow we got out of there alive

though we didn’t quite return. Our life
is different now we’ve drunk the tea.
They’re alive somehow. I got us out.
Why did you open the door to the fairy house?

Source: Poetry (February 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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Nursery

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  • Poet Kiki Petrosino was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of an African American mother and an Italian American father. She earned a BA from the University of Virginia, an MA in humanities from the University of Chicago, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of Fort Red Border (2009), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013), and Witch Wife (2017).
     
    Fort Red Border—the title is an anagram of “Robert Redford”—addresses love, intimacy, food, race, and contemporary culture. The first section of the book is a series of imaginative lyrics spoken by a woman engaged in a relationship with Robert Redford. In a Rain Taxi conversation, Haines Easton commented: “Petrosino’s speaker seeks to untangle sense, to make sense, to perceive and revel in sense—and seeks to do so free of the trappings of an at-large, hegemonic culture intent on bending her impulses to its will.” 
     
    Petrosino spent two...

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