The Take

The Take: Zachary Kluckman

Author’s Statement:

“Effigy” is partially inspired by the annual burning of Zozobra, a 50-foot effigy representing all that is negative. My mother passed recently, and the concept of this larger-than-life woman’s absence towers over me similarly. “Effigy” explores the enormity of her cremation, as well as the magnitude – and spectacle – of loss and grief as we attempt to process them. It is an evocation of impermanence and a prayer to what we cannot hold.

Editor’s Statement:

Kluckman’s poem contains a number of strong elements occurring simultaneously: the frantic breath of the speaker, effective use of repetition, staccato phrasing rendering in stark relief a deep sense of grief and mourning. The poet employs striking imagery and diction (machines, stacking dolls, hearts full of holes, fire-surviving teeth) while weaving a core-thread through wind and storm, furnace and ash. Ultimately, the reader is left awestruck with heavy emotion.


by Zachary Kluckman

When I tell you her body
Made of ash, is my fear
I mean strong winds
I mean all of our bodies
Nesting dolls hiding terrible
Machines, clockwork
A misleading name
They don’t, always
We don’t
I mean ash
Cannot be caught with nets
Our hearts too full of holes
To catch all of her
When the winds change
The way she moved
Place to place
Driven by storms
I mean, the idea of her
Waiting for the furnace
To never move again
I mean the teeth
that do not burn
I mean
her teeth
I mean
You cannot cradle ash
I mean
Her memory
Weighs more than her
I mean

She’s gone


can’ t compete with fire

By Jonah Meyer

Jonah Meyer is associate poetry editor for Mud Season Review. A poet, writer and editor based in North Carolina, he earned his Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology and Master’s in Library & Information Systems. His work has appeared in O.Henry, Ampersand Literary, Carolina Peacemaker, Bohemian Review, American Crises, JAB Fiction + Poetry, Found Spaces, The Mountaineer, Cold Lake Anthology, Raise the Voices, and US Review of Books. When not poeming, Jonah plays guitar, banjo and piano, studies cognitive neuroscience, and shoots entirely too much photography. He has a research interest in the intersection between Buddhist philosophy and mental health.