Three Poems by Mara Adamitz Scrupe

Read More: A brief interview with Adamitz Scrupe

Letting in Daylight

after King Leopoldo rolling in his grave
after the helpless handless footless five-year-olds
or thousands or ten millions beat him real good
with a stick after the antic dread
the can’t be trusted                 after the harlequin trace

& turn a blind eye to               after the bullied
unbound the alloyed dumb-struck
donned scratchy crimson robes
& only after I threw out the one true & genuine available
catholicon I lost impediment & earnest devotion

& for the best in the face of passion & pleasure
or contrariwise in foundlings & exploitations
after the hacked limbless children harvested
all those colonial cane fields eidetic & skinny

as street cats                I covered myself in coatings
I camouflaged myself with make-up
I lusted after lusciousness:
double-headed sinuous charms/ champlevé & plique-à-jour
rapturous as a tin virgin in high-time

& fair’s fair in nineteenth-century novels I devoured
in the public library in a then-little town
my dad emptied trash cans swigging from a fifth hidden
in a metal drawer/ wiped out ashtrays            nostrums

& dicta in unrenounced plaints of alcoholic
conviction while in real ownership
in placental chauvinism the ghost mother flew & fell
& picked herself up & got on with it

& childhood’s the nun held out her
hands to me as sisters bound/ I dove for cover
in the undecorated out-of-doors
at that point near centenary & affliction
it’s not for nothing all beauty’s fear & fascination
all longing’s all desire’s enracinements
what I want when I want it

after as children we were sent off to school
carrying smelly shelled hardboiled eggs in haggard paper
sacks in serpentine rubbery coiled conflation
of ivoried outland calamities              after     after

came the noisy dangerous people
people laid to waste/ scratching away at/ taking a bead on
lacerate eyes looking out from dark          one step closer
I let in the daylight people/ people stripped
of everything               I took up with morning
& washed away my past


White Voice

One day she may wonder if a saint walked or carried
her out            a child dropped from the sky to a distant hill
her family forever asleep.  Or if she may think herself

marked for sorrow                  bramble starred fording
streams.           Or she may believe we’re born
for what we carry.


songs sung                in white voice               orphans sing


One day she may despair the mounting defects         one
after another in progress so palpable so obvious
so naively unexpected/ indignities/ fadings/ a lost livelier

life her precious collected       things.  Or she may
lament the capacity for captivity        an out of fashion

corners worn round/ soft failed spine/ composed
in idioms no one
understands anymore. […]

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gorged: the neck collared or encircled by a rope or choker

the alarming decline of the bobwhite
(after an Egyptian frieze of coffled female slaves)

the river commenced
in cold wedding          high
in moraines of snow melt & glacial stream
the river began as rill
thin trickles set amidst miry slopes
as the bobwhite carried the blue

blue sky as the rivulet

carried warnings
or cravings meandering from stone
to stony hunch one woman to another            one casualty
to another tacet-ordered
the drummer silenced the gift
or hurt so finely wrought        ferociously tendered

in splendid hush the chestnut brown crown
& white throat             the white throat

the river carried mountains down her back
in her pellet womb received/ clit addictus
a citadel of skein & skull        coffled

made over as slave to trader as volition
to despoliation            the habitual to the humbled
latitude to bounds […]

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Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and visual artist; she is the author of six published and forthcoming poetry collections, BEAST (winner, 2014 Stevens Manuscript Prize NFSPS Press, 2014), Sky Pilot (Finishing Line Press Chapbook Competition, 2012), Magnalia (2018 Eyewear Press Chapbook Competition), A Daughter’s Aubade/ sailing out from Sognefjord (winner, Fledge Poetry Competition, Middle Creek Press, 2019), In the Bare Bones House of Was (Brighthorse Press Poetry Book Prize winner, 2019) and Eat the Marrow (Erbacce Press, Erbacce Prize in Poetry 2019). She is also the winner of the 2019 Canterbury International Arts Festival (UK) Kent Prize/ Poet of the Year as well as the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in The London Magazine, Mid America Review, Maine Review, Comstock Review, Off the Coast, Narrative Magazine, The Cincinnati Review, Bare Fiction, Matador Review, Ruminate, Crosswinds Review, Crab Creek Review and Sentinel Quarterly Literary Review (UK), among others. She has won or been shortlisted for numerous literary awards including Fish Poetry Prize, BigCi Environmental Writing Fellowship (Australia), Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (UK), Erbacce Poetry Prize, The Plough Poetry Prize, Ron Pretty Poetry Prize (Australia), Periplum Book Award (Plymouth University, UK), Sentinel Quarterly Book Award (London), Stiwdio Maelor Poetry Prize (UK), Cornwall Poetry Festival Competition (UK), University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Award (Australia), and the National Poetry Society Competition (UK).

“Letting in Daylight,” “White Voice,” and “the alarming decline of the bobwhite” were runner-up in the 2020 Editor’s Reprint Award and originally appeared in the Canterbury International Arts Festival Kent Prize Anthology, Comstock Review, and Grindstone Literary Anthony, respectively.

Read More: A brief interview with Adamitz Scrupe