Aditi Machado
THE BELIEVER POETRY AWARD

THE SIXTH ANNUAL—HEREBY PRESENTED TO

SOME BEHEADINGS BY ADITI MACHADO

Some Beheadings is an apt title for Aditi Machado’s daring debut collection. Her work tends toward a poetics that recalls Dickinson’s: “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Machado is our winner because of her talent at so eloquently stating what these poems leave unsaid. Her work here is to allow the reader to work, to trust the minds of those who encounter her poems. We read as participants and not as the entertained. Machado takes the necessary themes that pervade our twenty-first-century moment and depends on lyric impulse to leave them bare in ways that no television news program ever could: “Sand divines my desiccation. So too with culture, / words I use to speak my distance from the desert. / Culture too resides in me an intercourse most internal.” And this book is “internal” in the best way, as over and again it glows with an introspective power, a power that could be wielded only by a human being.

IN THE WEEDS

I had thought to tell a tale but between having had & having thought a plant fell out from within the crease.

I thought to have green fingers but I move so abstractly.

I am thinking now to describe what it’s like to touch something.
What it is to rub off on someone.

When two matters interact should I hope to keep my skin.

Ambling in the wind, lost in perfections, those blips
along the odometer of time, my feet in the weeds—

my head capitulates to them. Little plants, little events. That’s how

I think. A decapitation, a lovely guillotine wind lays my mind
in the weeds. That’s how

I touch a plant. My water touches its.

From Some Beheadings by Aditi Machado (Nightboat Books, 2017)

 

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