The Take

Ever wonder how journal editors make decisions about work to feature? The Take gives you a glimpse behind the scenes at Mud Season Review. Here, we feature one single poem or flash fiction piece that caught the attention of the editorial team, apart from the signature poetry portfolio or fiction piece in our bi-monthly issues. We hear from the author about the inspiration for his or her work, and we hear from a co-editor about why the poem or flash fiction story stood out.

Sarah Alcaide-Escue

Body Memory with Figs, or Loss of Innocence Has Everything to Do with Grief

we bury the trunk of the fig tree in a trench to protect it from the coming
storm       bruised & split       we gather fallen figs in our pockets
each palmed fruit a body
of constellations heavy with wasps         now it’s night        now we sew dead leaves
into our throats       drumming raw hands against the grotto’s walls pink with lack

we unbury ourselves       our darkening
bodies       along the red-seamed shore
as our mothers       we carry the land’s migratory

                                                                       rhythm like wool      carries sweat & sound

                                 from dog-torn branches sap slips as smoke slips from mouth to mouth

                                        this is our story                  we are a curse thrown to the sky

                            born to burn within our own incandescence

                                                     this is the origin of things      the body in reverse

                                                           as in cessation       as in thick-hipped beetles curl their jaws
                                                           into a namelessness      while their mates fight behind a solitary flame

                                                                                                                           their shadows   slips of light
                                                                                                                                          the same shape as your dress

Author’s Statement

This poem, for me, is a kind of excavation, a matrilineal map. It’s a meditation on the body as/through/with language and landscape. It’s a way of healing and (re)membering the past, my past. The body is an archive in that it carries memory and history. I believe we can transfer knowledge intergenerationally, storing patterns and responses for survival. Our bodies hold multiple possibilities, and memory lingers within and around us. 

From the Poetry Editors
Sarah Escue’s lyrical work carries vivid imagery of the speaker as a time capsule.  Her colorful language also accentuates a comparison between the speaker and their lover to the aspects of nature, as beetles near a flame. This poem itself is challenged by its form of ever changing structure:  Margins are pushed beyond their boundaries, lines are staggered, and each stanza contains various spacing.  These characteristics not only convey but emphasize a sense of loss and physical hunger.