It Isn’t a Ghost if It Lives in Your Chest
Winner of the 2021 Julie Ward Howe Award in Poetry
Houlihan’s sixth collection of lyric poems reflects upon the persistence of what is lost and the accidental ruptures of trauma that allow re-entry into our world. These poems are at once despairing and hopeful.
in the nod of a cow, stiff-legged,
as she leaps in the paddock, drops
to her knees, then back, to roll on new grass—
The large eye caresses yours. She smells you
as you lead her through the shaded field.
Hooded and without guile, follows you
to the chute. You are the ignorance
she lives through, the heavy blade she hears
sliding into the grooves.
The secret brutalities will make patties from that
on your behalf. A human fraternity
carved out of a hung carcass.