dear :: dear

Jennifer Richter and BT Shaw


hvar  ::  where
hvar  ::  where
hvar  ::  where
       hvar vartu?  ::  where were you? 
                hvarfi  ::  disappearance  
 hvatti  ::  inspired


When I get home she’s a bird
but she’s forgotten this—
slumped over homework,
her painted face propped
in her hand. Thin yellow-
orange beak down her nose,
blue-green glitter feathering
her cheeks. She’s stunning:
something my body could
never have made. I did this
myself she grins and stands,
already twelve and my height
on our wall’s penciled ladder.
Her beautiful bared thighs
ache every night and when
I find her later—facedown,
arms straight out—I don’t see
her exhausted weight. I see flight.
And me, at the foot of her bed:
still, here. Her exact shadow.

Poems from Jennifer Richter’s collaboration with poet BT Shaw—dear :: dear, a collection sparked by entries in artist Abra Ancliffe’s American to Icelandic Dictionary—were drafted across cultures and continents (Jennifer in Oregon, BT in South Vietnam) to consider, in these politically divided times, what at our cores keeps us close.