chicken+lowercase=fleur by Christine Tierney

chicken +lowercase=fleur

chicken +lowercase=fleur Includes 3 dollars for shipping


For years, the rampant glamor and unrelenting shadows of Christine Tierney’s work have entered my days without warning. Her addictive, agitated imagery and narrative muscle often made me question the urgency in my own work. And now, finally, the talent that’s astounded me for so long is unleashed in this rollicking debut volume. Now you’ll be haunted too.

        — Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art
 letter to sunflower in ink-blood and chlorophyll
 lowercase is no one’s daughter.
 like you, she is stem and rind
 slash and leak. in the ground 
 there was hope, all the water 
 she could drink. she chewed diamonds 
 down there! things get old quick.
 corollas fold in, the rest 
 falls out. lowercase was someone’s
 luminary once, wasn’t she?
 do you know why the razzly-
 most dazzly skies are so tenebrous?
 didn’t think so.
 oh, lonesome butterpelt, oh, pandora
 of gaping gapes, lowercase could be yours. 
 she could be gussied up and sung to. 
 she could be your babylily, your easter- 
 basket, your teensy pair of eyelet gloves. 
 the bitter house
 daddy is a hungry walrus 
 he has awesome tusks and blubber galore    
 daddy wants his goddamn dinner
 mummy is a crumpled tissue waiting to be thrown out
 she has a runny nose that never stops running
 mummy wants to make a nest in the rafters and sleep  
 lowercase loves everyone in the house, even tippy the mean cat
 she has eyepokey bangs that someone needs to cut
 lowercase wants mummy to make daddy his goddam dinner
 daddy calls out 
 daddy calls out louder
 a grueling silence follows
 lowercase impales her bottom lip with her two strong buckteeth 
 until she sees christmas
 lowercase is beginning to write dinky, gerbil hair dinky. 
 every letter no bigger than a sip. 
 oh, little dylan, get out your magnifying glass, 
 and amplify me. make me as grand as a jesus-halo. 
 make me larger than my crappo life.” lowercase has always been big, 
 though she’s much smaller than she used to be. 
 last night, a lady told her when she sees her old shorts 
 they look like a slice of toast, because that’s how small i was back then. 
 lowercase doesn’t have any of her old shorts, 
 but they were bigger than the whole loaf. 
 they were brown and mud-green and husky, not like her cousins 
 that were lemony and chirpy and itty-bitty like a canary. 
 one boring day, when lowercase and her friends 
 were all out back by the birdbath, (no birds in sight), 
 someone in shorts much smaller than hers 
 dared her to knock over the birdbath which was full of wet leaves 
 and twigs, and even sludgy worms, so she did, 
 and it smashed and cracked all over the place. 
 what she didn’t know, was that her father had been spying on her 
 from the kitchen window, probably shocked 
 she had actually gone through with it. he tapped-tapped-tapped 
 on the window pane and all of the bony kids ran 
 including lowercase’s itty-bitty canarycousin 
 in her polliwog-so-teeny-they-could-fit-in-the-slit-of-your-hip-pocket 
 lowercase, well she just stood there by the remaining 
 stump-of-a-birdbath, and took what she always took 
 for her scraggy friends. now she practices writing 
 really really small so she can cram all of her fat thoughts 
 onto one stinking page.   

About the Author

Christine Tierney’s poems and flash fiction have appeared in Fourteen Hills, Poet Lore, PMS, The Tusculum Review, Permafrost, LEVELER, Sugar House Review
and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writing Program, and a BA in film from Emerson College. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, a Pushcart Prize, and the Best New Poets Anthology.