I’ve been a fan of Stacey Waite’s poetry since I read hir chapbook love poem to androgyny (Main Street Rag, 2007). That collection was both more accessible and more aggressive than hir new work, the lake has no saint, winner of the Tupelo Press Snowbound Series Chapbook Competition. Repeated images of old houses, vines, and being underwater give this book the blurry, yearning atmosphere of a recurring dream, where one searches for the lost or never-known phrase that would make sense of a cloud of memories. Even as Waite offers compelling glimpses of discovering a masculine self within a body born female, womanhood exerts its tidal pull through domestic scenes with a female lover who seems perpetually on the verge of vanishing. S/he kindly shares this sample poem with us.
when an imposition of meaning
naming. kindergarten. i do not like salt water, the class gerbil or writing on the blackboard. i do not like the girls’ line and the boys’ line. i do not like swallowing my gum. i will not tell anyone my middle name. the teacher tells the whole class my middle name.
“it’s ann,” they scream, “we know it’s ann.”
don’t count on it–was what my father used to say to mean no. the trees never mean it. they spit up fire. they sometimes think they can make stars. no one is there to deny them.