Voice Memo [ecology/transmissions] | Cory Hutchinson-Reuss

3 mins read

Clatter-drawn, drawn by hail.
In rain the stones go soft and feral.
You’re ferocious in trauma’s pelt,
prickly skins each generation
passes down, heavy and re-
stitched. You’re a roar of grasses
and lashed panes, a rabbit haunch
quivering under the din 
of history’s atmosphere: pressure 
shifts, news cycles, the nights’ 
sirens in Doppler effect.
What we do with skull and hammer. 
Cruelty and rotten teeth. 
All the evidence that sews you in—
            what it means to be human—
sitting again  
doubled over 
with another form 
when the array of possibilities 
collapses into a suffering moment
as somewhere it is always 
collapsing. Trying to let 
the body’s grief 
be plainspoken, 
to let it remember
those you loved in the lung-pink
tunnels of air rushing, the cochlear
swirl of unseen rooms 
flush with organ warmth. 
            We carry each other
as a kind of in-body brooding, 
always a body within
a larger body, even if it’s only 
a nest you kick against, 
or a cloud of voices  
to and through which 
you speak in moments of slow fog,
currents crossing between I
and you and we, those 
who press you with kindness or shame, 
those you fail
to understand in the ways they need, 
those whose words you keep as talismans against 
your own self-talk. 
            You recall the time 
you bent over 
a bowl of floating marigolds, 
while a woman said a blessing 
over your head 
in a language you knew only as water 
trickling down your temples, 
as the scent of sun petals, 
as a momentary return
to a self that lives in tenderness. 
Fragile thought pushing through 
brain paths, ventricles, arterial 
tunnels, the tiny compartment of vibrating cords,
the gut’s intelligence, 
the flower-shaped spaces 
floating above your crown and below your feet. 
            The maples’ antennae
reaching in every direction. Soil-
dark, sky-drift. All
these connections you don’t know 
if you can stand.

Cory Hutchinson-Reuss grew up in Arkansas, earned her PhD in English from the University of Iowa, and now lives and writes in Iowa City. Her work has appeared in Timber, Slice, MemoriousPangyrus, the Missouri Review online, Concision Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. A collaborative chapbook of her poems and the visual art of Giselle Simón was published in 2022 as part of the Prompt Press Gallery Series, and her first full-length collection of poems is forthcoming from Milk & Cake Press in 2025. She serves as an advisory council member for the non-profit Iowa City Poetry, as a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal, and as Associate Poetry Editor for Brink. Find her at coryhutchinsonreuss.com.