Fox Song

Caki Wilkinson

The yards grow ghosts. Between the limbs and wings,bleached street-lit things, I'm best at moving on.Hunt-heavy, gray, slunk overlow like somuch weight got in the way, my shape's the shapeof something missed, flash-pop or empty frame.Though you could say I've made a game of this,and though midtrickery it might be true,when evening lingers in the key of leavingmy senses swoon. A synonym for stay,I'm always coming back. I chew through traps.I love whatever doesn't get too close.

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Caki Wilkinson is the author of three poetry collections: The Survival Expo (2021), The Wynona Stone Poems (2015), and Circles Where the Head Should Be (2011). She is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the Vassar Miller Prize, the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award from Persea Books, and a Tennessee Arts Commission Fellowship. Poems from The Survival Expo appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Kenyon Review, Yale Review and other magazines. She lives in Memphis and is an associate professor of English at Rhodes College.

"If Gwendolyn Brooks and Wallace Stevens had a great grand-daughter who lived in the contemporary South, her name might be Caki Wilkinson. Her poetic genetics are simultaneously soulful and linguistic. Her poems possess the irreverent and honest charms of a nimble storyteller whose yarns, hopes, oracles and songs elevate our daily lives. She speaks 'in a voice who reminds you of you.' The Survival Expo is terrific, vibrant, open, and wise."
—Terrance Hayes

"As soon as I started reading this book, I started trying to memorize it—the way these poems negotiate sound and sense is both incredibly complex and seemingly effortless. The writing is wry and biting, glorious and mournful, indelibly musical and deeply, deeply smart."
—Natalie Shapero

"...delightful, clever, sometimes wrenching, sometimes rhyming and always clear."
The New York Times

"The sonic forces in these poems (which are, frankly, incredible) can carry any contradiction."
Poetry Magazine

"Heartbreaking and hilarious, The Survival Expo introduces us to a cast of weirdo neighbors, wrong-headed oracles, and lovably off-kilter kin . . . Wilkinson is a master of portraiture with an exquisite ear and a gift for perfect endings. Especially in these times, I am altogether grateful for this book, this poet."
—Marcus Wicker

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