The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “System of Ghosts” by Lindsay Tigue

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“Convergent Boundaries”

Isostatic sinking is caused by heavy weight,
as during glaciation, the lowering of crust
into asthenosphere. I read about this process,
involved in the creation of atolls, coral necklace
landmass ringing bluewater lagoon.

I tell you this is my new favorite
geologic event. That I also love
subduction, when one tectonic plate sinks
below the other at convergent boundaries,
causing hot magma to rise to the surface.

When I told you about subduction,
I slipped, said seduction. That’s what
this is. But you know that.

In fifth grade, when I first learned
about the rift of Pangaea, I cried.
It was too beautiful, the way everything can
and will separate.

But what about love that is there, my god
it is there, but can’t seem to force
the shifting of what’s already in place,
the fault-line fissure, continents halving
into sea. The division of everything—
records and cups and quilts. You can’t see

how the dust might settle. I keep
wanting my own sinking, your reckless weight
above me. Your hand on my back. The ring
of myself that remains.


This selection comes from Lindsay Tigue’s collection System of Ghosts available now from University of Iowa Press. Purchase your copy here.

Lindsay Tigue is the author of System of Ghosts, winner of the 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize and published in April 2016 by the University of Iowa Press. She writes poetry and fiction and her work appears in Prairie SchoonerBlackbird, Indiana Reviewdiode, and Cream City Review, among other journals. She was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has received a James Merrill fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and is a current PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. She works as the current assistant to the editors at the Georgia Review and lives in Athens, Georgia.

Staci R. Schoenfeld is a recipient of 2015 NEA Fellowship for Poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and residencies from the Ragdale Foundation and Albee Foundation. She is a PhD student at University of South Dakota, assistant editor for poetry at South Dakota Review, and an assistant editor at Sundress Publications. Recent and forthcoming publications include poems in Mid-American ReviewSouthern Humanities Review, and Room Magazine, fiction in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and non-fiction in The Manifest Station.

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