Poems and Texts

from LIFE IN A BOX IS A PRETTY LIFE by Dawn Lundy Martin

from Life in a Box is a Pretty Life

Lake, interminable. I do not know where my house is. Where
is my house? Summer steams by. Every border is cocked and
ready. Flatten body against cool earth. Lie without sound. Be
a cool corpse under wire teeth. The police are so young. They
do not hear the wailing. Wailing, I’m told, is a figment of
your imagination. What to know of the body’s refusal to
open, of its hidden cave? Put the cave inside another cave so
no one can reach it. Perspiration aches. Strain against dirt
walls. I have come to you from a metal house. We had steel
barriers to protect us from the sun. The lake drifts into
forever. Windows here are small and I cannot see myself in
them. What it is to be captured without spoons.

Photo: Max Freeman

Dawn Lundy Martin

Dawn Lundy Martin is author of three books of poetry, and three chapbooks. Of her latest collection, Life in a Box is a Pretty Life (Nightboat Books 2015), Fred Moten says, “Imagine Holiday singing a blind alley, or Brooks pricing hardpack dandelion, and then we’re seized and thrown into the festival of detonation we hope we’ve been waiting for.” Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Martin is a member of the three-person performance group, The Black Took Collective. She is also a member of the global artist collective, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, the group that withdrew its work from the 2014 Whitney Biennial to protest the museum’s biased curatorial practices. Martin is currently working on a hybrid memoir, a tiny bit of which appears as the essay, “The Long Road to Angela Davis’s Library,” published in the The New Yorker in December 2014.

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