Poetry by Andrea Rexilius
“You were always so hungry,
or cold. Nearly a ghost.
Still, everyone will say
what was it like to lose a sister.
What was it like to see her body
embalmed within church walls
in your hometown.”
Andrea Rexilius’s Sister Urn is a requiem both intimate and broad in scale, memorializing the life of a sister cut short and the unraveling aftereffects of the anthropocene, “difficult to pin down in objects, and therefore unnamable.” Here, poetry is an act not only of holding space for grief but also for restitching what has split or frayed into a raw-edged resolution: “When the future is missing, I will reside in the letter I. I will abide by it, even if it topples over.”
“Andrea Rexilius’s visionary requiem for her sister spears like broken glass through the palm, emancipating us from Cartesian solitude and into the holy space of conjoined mortalities. Her lyricism crafts a cathedral to house both the heaven our bodies were and the hells the flesh must endure. Here, memories hunt for their other half in forms now mourned, and, in death, ripened into meadowlark and tree branch. Here, we learn to read from the compendium of the beasts and their communal worlding. Here, Rexilius excavates language to our human foundations, illuminating the self we made through the other: and we are colony, the hive and the flock. Andrea Rexilius’s brilliant Sister Urn presses us against the afterlife, and, in radiant revelations, achieves, as if in living diorama, the body as an epistle of love.” —J. Michael Martinez, author of Museum of the Americas
“To call a work ‘poignant’ is to say its needle has pierced you, that you may touch the needle quick at work as it restitches what’s split or frayed. Sister Urn wounds me like this. At the center we find: traces of a sister, animal dioramas, feathers, stray threads, evidence of the anthropocene. A calm, unflinching clarity lights this work that glimmers with Rexilius’ swift and bewitched imagination wielding a power to transform words before our eyes, as hem turns to hymn to hemoglobin to hemisphere. Rexilius leads us into that hemisphere long darkened by despair while holding the small illuminations of this music: ‘We blank our voices / going forward into the night. Uvula as lantern.’ ” —Carolina Ebeid, author of You Ask Me To Talk About the Interior
Cover art by Josie Morway
Andrea Rexilius is the author of The Way the Language Was (Letter Machine, forthcoming in Spring 2020), New Organism: Essais (Letter Machine, 2014), Half of What They Carried Flew Away (Letter Machine, 2012), and To Be Human Is To Be a Conversation (Rescue Press, 2011). She is Core Faculty in Poetry, and Program Coordinator, for the Mile-High MFA in Creative Writing at Regis University. She also teaches in the Poetry Collective at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado.