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Genevieve DeGuzman

Michelle Boisseau Prize Finalist


Once, we were two penitents bent
in prayer, in proximity, in possession of

a love. Our eyes shined with
greeting, mouths vibrated like cat

throats hungry for the taste of
flight. Nights those windows blinked and

unblinked in the dark, such sweet
nothings of remorse, a hoarse code,

a morse language bodies make in the dark
when they fuck. Mornings when I ran

the roads past the river and the leafy cottonwood
so bloated with birds they were no longer green

but blue inked graffitied berms, an old bear
came down from the forest to drink

a convocation of waters. Drank enough rivers
the way you knelt before me, tilted

me to your mouth where you found wet
baptism, damp earth. You have always loved me

at the point before the stroke cleaves
the canvas. I can’t tell from a body

the severing of a place, but I know
it’s there: your brush behind

my back at the point
of dismemberment. I could lie,

lover. Pretend I’ve been a bird of the rarest plumage
set free, but I know I’m more a specimen

of the rarest Darwinian worth, pinned, archived,
already parsed of bones, spoiled of quills for

souvenirs. When you leave, this bag of feathers

left of me will stain your fingers blue.


Genevieve DeGuzman writes poetry and fiction. She has been a recipient of fellowships and grants from Oregon Arts Commission, PEN America, Literary Arts, and Vermont Studio Center, among others. As a poet, Genevieve won the Atticus Review contest selected by Roberto Carlos Garcia and earned nominations for the Best New Poets anthology. Her work appears in Folio, Iron Horse Literary Review, Nimrod, RHINO, phoebe, Strange Horizons, and has been featured in the Poetry Moves program for C-TRAN in Washington state. Born in the Philippines, raised in Southern California, she now lives in Portland, OR. She tweets at @gen_deg.

Bear Review


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