Posts Tagged ‘Robin Gow’

Sword Basket



I weave baskets out of my thin bones,

attempting to conduct order

over my body.


            I remember a story that

            someone’s mother told

            someone’s daughter about

            a girl who ran away to become

            a basket weaver


                        The mother told it as a cautionary tale:

                        don’t fall in love with boys who do

                        senseless things like weaving baskets.

                        None of this advice applies because

                        I’m a black hole and I probably have


A mother but I probably ate her

a long time ago.


            There’s a magic trick where

            a woman (the daughter) gets into

            a woven basket


                        And a man puts on the lid

                        And the man is magic because

                        men are always magic.


He then brings out

a bouquet of long swords

and sticks the basket

with the long swords


            while she screams.

            I might be one of the long swords

            or I might be the basket

            or I might be the scream

            and the audience experiencing


                        fear despite knowing

                        it’s just a trick.


I am most terrified

by violence when

it’s just a trick.


            All my violence

            is real and not as clean

            and the sword through

            the woman would be.


                        I’m tearing rifts

                        in the universe—how grandiose.


I’m not the magician

because he believes

he can enact this


            and she will come out



                        I believe though

                        that she must be carrying

                        phantom swords



in her body


            from his suggestion


                        from the audiences

                        adrenaline and praise.


She gets out of the basket

with no visible wounds.


            He swallows a sword

            or two.


                        I weave another basket

                        and pretend there’s a woman

                        (the daughter) climbing inside.


I tell her at least,

I have no swords.


— Robin Gow

Robin Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Roanoke Review. He is a graduate student and professor at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. He is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets and Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. He loves poetry that lilts in and out of reality and his queerness is also the central axis of his work.

Editor’s Notes: The image is a collage of a basket made by the Karen people in Northern Thailand (1986, Ethnological Museum, Berlin), an enhanced skeletal hand (Cool Silh), and a Celtic sword.