A Guide for Souvenirs You Get Without Going on the Trip by Emari DiGiorgio

Winner, Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize

Pardon our noise. It’s the sound of freedom.
—Cherry Point Marine Corp Air Station

I was born in Cherry Point, North Carolina,
and I was not sexually experienced, couldn’t
tell you the cherry’s point, which end of stem
or how a limbic tongue ties knots. That almost

arm from branch to bud or fruit, an arboretum’s
umbilicalis. On base, muscled engines chant

takeoff takeoff takeoff. Mother swells, cerise
cheeked, la linea negra a prime meridian

from navel to labia, she’s ready to split. Inside
the cherry’s thin skin, a merlot, juice of a drupe

so small. In the trailer’s white walls, cockroaches
climb the studs, fuck furiously in the dark.

The lining up and moving out. The wooden seed,
a skull. At roll call, tight-assed boys from Sioux City,

Philadelphia, Tampa cry out name and rank, sir,
yes, sir. What’s the point?—the tip, the fleshy head?

Ooh Rah! It’s pump and thrust, it’s rolled sleeves
and crisp cuffs, crew cuts, dog tags clacking

sternums, the music of the machine roars on.
The cherry on top: another girl in the world.

Emari DiGiorgio is the author of Girl Torpedo (Agape 2018), winner of the 2017 Numinous Orison, Luminous Origin Literary Award; and The Things a Body Might Become (Five Oaks Press 2017). She’s the recipient of the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, the Ellen La Forge Memorial Poetry Prize, RHINO’s Founder’s Prize, the Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award, and a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She’s received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and Rivendell Writers’ Colony. She teaches at Stockton University, is a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet, and hosts World Above, a monthly reading series in Atlantic City, NJ.

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