Corey Van Landingham

Processes for Formation

A man drew a map of the earth
            and showed me how mountains are made:

      fold and thrust, how plates collide
            until one overtakes the other. He taught me
      the long process of being subsumed.

             When all I asked for
was to return to a time before there were words

             for the types of weather.
      To wake up in a different bed
             under a different sky and not think Tornado Season.

I just want to be astonished.
             Because, after awhile, I walked into rooms

      thinking, How long is long enough
             before I can leave.
      The rivers were all the color

             of old horses
too tired to run away.

             Isn’t the depth of desire
      somewhere near drowning. When someone explains
             how the world is formed

through its own deformation, how do I
             not give him my only waist

      to pull closer.
             I walked into rooms like I could stitch
      a feather into my palm and be

            a hybrid kind of lover who is expected
to flee. And what if someone

            took a pair of tweezers, worked it out.
      What if someone
             still had a little hope left inside her.

A little hope one could light up
             with a match.

Corey Van Landingham is a Wallace C. Stegner Poetry Fellow at Stanford University, and the author of Antidote, winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, The Best American Poetry 2014, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.