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.

 

 

By Jessica Edgerton

Retraction

it is a closing is it not an
endearment to wish this way or that
upon the flattened zephyr. to factory
yourself an electron in split ask the
everlasting question what
are you doing here is
the sum of all things
a thousand pieces minus

when voiding forgiveness there
is nowhere the sound can travel in
you and through you centimeter
away to unearth the salient points. did
I bury myself deep enough thickets
spliced by border walls. we are
composed of spaces between
spaces, until it is time to

turn ourselves into finally ourselves

I had a mouth once. it
opened wide like a chickadee, like
regret

 

Author’s Statement
We’re often told we’re supposed to be one individual, to ignore the potentially deep juxtaposition between the person we should be and the person we want to be. Perhaps these are rarely the same and we’re just not willing to admit it. Perhaps not. But that disparity creates a state of cognitive dissonance within me that never quite leaves. “Retraction” confronts learning to live in that tension, with never feeling entirely whole.

 

From the Poetry Editors
“Retraction” is one of those poems that startled us with invented language – the poet turns nouns like “factory” and “centimeter” into active verbs. She drops hints of physics and mathematics into the poem like bits of shiny objects tucked into a crow’s nest. It’s such a complete poem, yet you can’t quite get at the meaning in one or two readings. The relatively tidy form belies its depth of feeling, which culminates in the final image. We would call it stunning – in the way a low current can still jolt the heart.