Spring 2024

small seams

By Valerie Wallace

after Alexander McQueen

Beauty is an accusation. Nature
Herself has turned metaphysical.
Skull bears witness, proper
& perfect. Viper to socket, startles
me into alertness. Profane
& beauty are not in opposition —
Mediocrity is the world’s welter. Flame
On the alter, from dulled procession
The age demanded an image of its
Accelerated grimace. I’d be a fool
Not to open my mind. Don’t pity
The age if I mirror it. I want to pull
Nature into vanity. To lead back.
Let the skull crack. Let the wind speak.

“breaking the dam” by Simon Fyrdundel (Vol. 41.1)


Valerie Wallace is the author of House of McQueen, selected by Vievee Francis for the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry and named one of the best books of poetry in 2018 by the Chicago Review of Books. Her chapbook, The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping, includes 10 poems chosen by Margaret Atwood for the Atty Award.  In 2019, she was named one of 30 “Writers to Watch” by the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago. valeriewallace.net

Spring 2024