Dahuangling

The orchestra swells like an afternoon.
End-summer. Mid-heat. Cages

swinging over the stage, in the back
corners of the amphitheatre. From behind
the orchard: a bird museum.

Closer and you realize the bars of the cages
cuddle like toothpicks twice threaded.
Then you see them, splendidly perched
on pinning legs: thousands and thousands of
crickets. At once, all the familiarity of chirping
gone.

In groups.
In groves.
In the concubine’s curio.

These crickets either singing
or, at least, sighing for sure. Each purposeful
chiu a sobering crescendo. Forewings
strumming a quiet, courting song.




Danielle Aquiline graduated from the MFA program in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago. In addition to teaching FYW full-time at Columbia College, she is also the editorial assistant for College Composition and Communication—the flagship journal in rhetoric and composition studies. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Black Clock, Court Green, Yemassee, Bellingham Review, Bloom, and Gulf Stream. She lives in Andersonville with her partner, Sona, two cats, two dwarf hamsters, and two dwarf bunnies.

The Opposite of Disappearing

For a long while, I was certain my liver had divorced my body.
Days spent tracking the mass like a snowstorm:
a strange knot in my thigh, a lump in my chest,
twice there was a bulge on my shoulder that reason couldn’t explain.

Scientists call it displacement. How something is there,
then it is not—the difference between the initial position of something
and any later position.

Once, in a science class, we ripped the skin
from a snail, thumbed curiously at the sandy viscera:
a pin heart, a kidney, lungs releasing into the heel.
All year I spent wondering how lonely my own foot must be,
how much my body wants for purpose beyond pedestal.

Sometimes I still trace the outline of a body part displaced:
a shrimp’s heart beating in its head, a snail
breathing through its foot.




Danielle Aquiline graduated from the MFA program in Poetry at Columbia College Chicago. In addition to teaching FYW full-time at Columbia College, she is also the editorial assistant for College Composition and Communication—the flagship journal in rhetoric and composition studies. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Black Clock, Court Green, Yemassee, Bellingham Review, Bloom, and Gulf Stream. She lives in Andersonville with her partner, Sona, two cats, two dwarf hamsters, and two dwarf bunnies.