Don't Ask

Isabel Rogers

In her debut collection of poems, Isabel Rogers brings her uncompromising intellect and her signature wry wit to philosophy, pop culture, politics, music, and even language itself. Here are poems that put an atheist’s words in a god’s mouth, that wrestle with the literary tradition, and that put their full faith in the ability of words to heal and sustain through even the darkest of times. 

A sample poem


Your heart was like the bees
my childhood remembers, visited
with the old man who wouldn't let me veil
or glove. Let the hive know you,
he said, smiling through his cloak
of yellow and black. I swallowed
our criminal objective.

How does one befriend a bee?
Every day fewer of them died
embedded in my flesh. I grew
accustomed to the hot pain
and swell, they to the small friend
of their friend. Soon I could reach
inside the screens to burgle,
leaving counterfeit sugar as a truce.
I fancied they even welcomed it.

In summer a new queen rose.
They swarmed, shimmering over the orchard:
an alien steering west to the low sun
and away, leaving my placebo syrup.
What I wouldn't give to be stung again.


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