Pages Navigation Menu

Cherry Pickman

Cherry Pickman





On Cognitive Dissonance


You go to the art show, which is in memoriam

of the dead artists the one whose death was

accidental, the other one

not so much. It isn’t enough to know

that someone died, we need to know how

in order to distance ourselves

from any mortal likelihood. Can the sculpture act

as political barometer? Even the poem has borders.

The long walks you expose your skin to

hoping to perfume yourself with place are

taking you nowhere, are greening your

sensibilities, which should not be confused

with growth. There’s always a song somewhere

thrumming in invisible frequencies, there’s

the light that looks like a certain memory, which

reminds you to avoid such vagaries, to pin

the tail despite the blindfold, to lead

the donkey directly to its paddock. And this effort,

the daily tally where you have picked things up

and put them in the proper stacks is what,

an attempt to resolve reality? What our memory

omits is for our own gain—our minds congested

with habit, our fingertips insist, force

each task. While above you

the storm cloud will not give, but grants us

darkness. You dressed carefully

for the show, considered each layer. For a second

you mistake the sculpture’s mouth for

a cradle. What other misapprehensions

have led you here?



Cherry Pickman

Cherry Pickman is the author of Theory of Tides, winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship. Her work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, 32 Poems, American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Boston Review, Dossier, Indiana Review, Jai-Alai Magazine, and PEN, among others. A selection of her poems was included in Eight Miami Poets (2015), an anthology published by Jai-Alai Books. She has been shortlisted for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and has been a finalist for the Snowbound Chapbook Competition, The Missouri Review Editors Prize; and, most recently, her full-length collection, Islanders, was a semifinalist for the Alice James Book Award. Pickman is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program; she lives and works as an arts editor in Miami.