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Issue 1.2

Fall 2021
1.2 DK_edited.jpg

Paula Cisewski


I was thinking, inside the received form of the golden shovel, about inheritance and silence and how interior and exterior perceptions hinge upon one another.

American Tangle #2


                     –with a repeated golden shovel line from Louise Bourgeois


I was at the end of a line and then I was only close to

the end even though the baby does not unravel

a road home which is not to say we did not travel a

predictable sticky-silk web of joy and torment

which eternally begins at the word You

said everybody wanted to leave? You must

have misunderstood my meaning. Let’s begin

here and work our way there, I guess. Somewhere,


say St. Louis, we parked by Louise Bourgeois’ spider to 

stretch legs in a sculpture park. That we were about to unravel 

anything wasn’t clear. The spider named Maman became a

looming You which we willingly stood below, a glorious torment

next to which our car was a small blue egg and we hatchlings. You 

shadowlegs, You made and making vessel. You must 

re-see the past or your little weavers die stunted. Say we begin

to work the brokenness of this particular somewhere,


say this country, where an actual sitting president has said to 

several congresswomen go back where you came from. Unravel 

that. Once my mother was told a thing she didn’t know was a

lie and she told me and here we are, still moving up in line, torment

or no, bearing the unspeakers’ unspoken truths about the lines any You

passes on down, a pattern, threaded and threading. It must 

be time to web some new never-ending in which we did begin

broken and work a way spoken, here somewhere.

Paula Cisewski's poetry collection, Quitter, won the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened Everything, Ghost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing privately and academically, makes things, and collaborates with fellow artists and activists. See more of her writing, collage work and printing at

Paula's Book Recommendations

Glass is Glass, Water is Water, Rae Gouirand

Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50: Poems, Lee Ann Roripaugh

Forest Primeva, Vievee Francis

Braiding Sweetgrass, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings
        of Plants, 
Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Book of Delights, Ross Gay

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