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Claressinka Anderson

Michelle Boisseau Prize Runner-Up

The Blades

On a clear day I see them 

                      glower above the island— 

           where clouds gang

& planes disappear 

           into the disappointment 

of buildings below. 

                      The blades raze through the sky, 

           returning the sun 

with their mirrored faces—We’re coming for you

they say, 

           & when I fling open my window, 

                      they enter my skin 

with howling precision: 

                                 Holes & holes & holes. 

           How many letters to fill a breach? 

How many tongues? 

           I was only a small girl 

when he licked my face in the dark. 

                      Only a small girl 

when I learned the mores 

of silence.                 It’s said there are no words 

for certain things— 

                                 For bodies held, 

                                            & down 

                                            & limbs. 

But the words fly out, all around 

                      they are pouring, 

                                            garlands, ribbons 

           We’re coming for you, 

they say—                           I was only a small girl 

when I learned the mouth is a home 

for blades. 

                      Only a small girl 

when he came for me.


Claressinka Anderson’s poems and essays have appeared in Best New Poets 2022, Los Angeles Review of Books, Autre Magazine, bedfellows, Chiron Review, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (Carla), and elsewhere, as well as in the anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Haymarket Books, 2020). Through her ongoing collaborations with artists, her work engages the interstitial spaces of contemporary art, literature, and music. She recently wrote her first libretto, and the opera is now in development. Anderson holds an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. Born and raised in London, she lives in Los Angeles and dreams about rain. You can find her at

Bear Review


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