Field Dress Portal

Sarah Audsley

—Lauren Woods, Field Dress, 7′ x 6′ oil on linen

a yellow orb shifts against the shock of dark vertical bark, her back                    split diagonal, flayed & a bright fleshysuspension in the copse of trees, her hooves scrape packed dirt, legs                    sway like she’s dancing on hindquarters & I couldtake her body inside me, like the medicine I need, or wrap her                    skinned hide, congealed blood flaking, a cloak against the comingnight & I’d wear her ears, pin her white-warning-tail to my backside                    as regalia for all the deer-dead, but the painting only approachesher in 2-d—a portal of slim brushstrokes, paint upon paint, so I step                    into the field, from the left, outside the frame, push through tallburnished grasses, bending slightly, my feet crush crickets, trample                    late blooming goldenrod & I let the heat of the day leak outof the air like a balloon popped & swirling, so I can become Field. Dress. Portal.                    What’s the worst possible thing to ask of yourself? Maybe believingin whatever makes demands on your own inner life, like how love                    is supposed to save even the most hardened ones. Only this dead doe’shead bows & whistles to the others, come find me—quick, like light,                    or like all the seedpods’ sudden dispersal, their unrealized progeny floataway without a care for the end result.

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Anne Skidmore

Sarah Audsley, an adoptee born in South Korea and raised in rural Vermont, has received support for her work from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Banff Centre. Her manuscript-in-progress received a 2021 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. She lives in Johnson, VT where she works for the Vermont Studio Center and Sundog Poetry Center. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.

Vol. 41, No. 4

Middlebury, Vermont

Middlebury College

Carolyn Kuebler

Managing Editor
Leslie Sainz

Poetry Editor
Jennifer Chang

By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, long and short poems, translations, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. At NER, serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.

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