National Poetry Month Spotlight: Elizabeth Cantwell

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Elizabeth Cantwell, author of Nights I Let The Tiger Get You.
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Maybe you’re supposed to give some sort of ghostCantwell cover5
tour   Maybe you’re tasked with taking people
through the streets and making up stories
about dead apothecaries and mourning
wives     When the feeling gets to your hand
on the doorknob you know you’re
going to open it now no matter what
I want to be alone and quiet     But there’s always
some new axe
cutting through the unfinished side
of my house     There’s always someone I have to be
accountable to standing there
with an empty pillowcase whispering
fill it up     And my hands are empty and the glass bowl
in front of me is empty
and I keep showing them that but they
seem to think I’m made
of individually-wrapped candies     Please
walk slowly up to the lens until you’re almost in
focus     Place the yellow light on top of the ceiling fan
and step away     Please look in the mirror for me
and tell me what I should be seeing     What
is women’s writing anyway     Sometimes
I think about how broken
my body is     I think maybe the only thing that
understands how I see the fragments of
myself is Peyton Manning’s neck     re-
fused and covered in question mark
scars     Maybe you’re supposed to tell the tourists
to stay home tonight     To wait for Halloween
(I’m always opening the door to the same threat
over and over
and every time it looks like love)
Elizabeth has chosen to introduce: “Blankout” by Bradley Harrison Smith.
She says: This poem does everything I love poems for. It rings in the ear. It has a sound that makes you feel something. It sneaks away from you just when you think you’ve caught it. It asks you to try to catch it anyway. It leaves you alone in the dark at the end, waiting for another glimpse of what it’s been trying to tell you.
Cantwell_AntiPhotoElizabeth Cantwell is a poet and teacher living in Los Angeles. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including PANK, Anti-, The Los Angeles Review, La Petite Zine, and The Literary Review. Her book of poems, Nights I Let The Tiger Get You (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), was a finalist for the 2012 Hudson Prize; she is also the author of a chapbook, Premonitions (Grey Book Press, 2014).