Maureen Seaton

Muse Theory Inspired by Dennis Hinrichsen w/a Woman Stopping along the Highway

—O Ruth Stone

there’s been nothing in this crazy world before or since like the words
that barreled down Route 80 the year I drove to see my friend
in Somewhere Pennsylvania // not the Lower East Side
w/the clawfoot tub in her kitchen & the river rats beneath her sink
or that pink neon // flashing P-O-E-T // in her bedroom window—No //
There I was alone w/all that // sound // not words at first //
trusty 4-cylinder beneath me // Holy Truckstop—Holy Open Road
stretching to infinity // & suddenly there were lines & lines of words //
trains of words—crazy winds of unwanted words—no thank you—not now—
old buddy—old muse—can’t you see I’m driving // words out of the blue
words straight from the horizon where light begins // where if you wanted
to be quiet w/a hat pulled over your ears // or wrapped in a silence
even multitudes could not pierce // you couldn’t // no // you were that

astonishingly open

Muse Theory w/Chemo during Covid


I am shaving my legs even though I am in perpetual quarantine and everyone I see and love is on zoom and even if they weren’t on zoom but sitting right beside me they wouldn’t care if my legs were hairy but last week when I went to the ER with vertigo of all things how dumb is that I was so embarrassed when they put a gown on me and my legs were hairy although not as hairy as they are ten days later you can imagine and honestly I was sitting here thinking about writing something for my group tomorrow with the prompt they thought up last week which is to write about something you love in your house plus with the extra added prompt of after a poet you admire so I thought of Dennis Hinrichsen again with his unusual punctuaton although Holly already pointed out that Dickinson used a lot of dashes too but still I said all those double slashes or forward slashes as this definition from an online Punctuation Guide gives us // The one inarguably acceptable use of the slash in formal writing pertains to poetry. The slash, with one space on either side, indicates a line break // I like that even if I don’t agree with it because to me everything is arguable not that I argue a lot or even a little actually with anyone but doctors but I do love to argue with my oncologist who is a head with a body attached to it my therapist says which may be true so I have to be careful I use my whole body when forced to make decisions about what kind of chemo I’m going to have and whether it will make me lose just the hair on my head or both of my eyebrows and all my body hair which brings me full circle to these legs which are in dire need of shaving at the moment dash double slash period

Though they be mad and dead as nails

—Dylan Thomas

They never did find Mary
in her musty unreliable tomb,
but I know they will surely

find me in mine. If only
someone had told me I too
should remain a virgin I might

have slipped from my grave
one night to fly out and away
in my luminescent body

smelling pure and sweet,
not fucked at all, the way
the scrappy nuns warned us

from our biblical beginnings
that messing around with boys
would be the death of us

and they were right, oh God!
Now here I am, tarnished
as a sad old silver gravy boat

and doomed to die like any
unlucky unclean creature
who couldn’t wait to have sex.


Why do they treat the dying for the dead?
—Sonny Nordmarken

Dear Sonny, Your question about the dying and the dead has come to me in a text message, which may mean that a word or words have been changed in the journey. Aureole. Aurora. Antibody. So it’s possible you haven’t noticed that the preposition “for” is an unusual choice or that your question “Why” might also be expressed as “How”. 1. A circle of light around a luminous body, especially around the sun or moon. Bloodlet. Borialis. Bacillicide. Since you sent the text from Texas and I’m in Colorado, maybe a word jumped latitudes along the way. Circlet. Carnivorous. 2. A circular chandelier in a church or a castle. Corona herself felt a sense of imprisonment, but no desire to sing. Perhaps I should answer the question rather than going around and around. Disc. Disk. Wondering whether or not it was auto-corrected between Houston and Boulder. Ecliptic. 3. A part of the body resembling or likened to a crown. Facula. Flame. Corona, in the act of upturning a leaf, started and drew back her hand. Gyre. Hoop. So I think they treat the dying as the dead because they fail to see that the dying are not dead. Halo. 4. The trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or a narcissus. Icy. Iced. They think the dying are actually dead, in other words. As Corona caught her breath, they turned and stared. Joule. Krypton. Light. 5. The rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. The dying are alive, pure and simple. Meridian. Nimbus. Orbit. And what did Corona seek in the kitchen garden? Perimeter. Periphery. Quark. In fact, the dying are perhaps more alive in their dying than any living person might be. Revolution. Ringlet. Radiance. This means that any time someone treats a dying person as a dead person, that someone is committing an injustice. Sphere. Stadium. Tongue. As to why someone might do that, I have no idea. 6. The petal-shaped fringe around a virus. “Then we ought to go straight back and set them free,” insisted Corona. Umbrella. Vortex. Or maybe the world simply continues to be witless in ways that involve the dying and the dead. Wreath. Zodiac. Just once I would like to feel as safe in the world as you make me feel, Sonny, whether I’m dying or not, and for that I will always love you, no matter what, how, or, in this case, why.

Note: “Corona” was written in the style of Susan Griffin’s abecedarian, “Erosion,” in Woman and Nature: The Roaring inside Her. The “Corona” quotes are from the novel, Brother Copas (1911), by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (1863-1944), a British writer who is mainly remembered for The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900.

Maureen Seaton has authored two dozen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—recently, Undersea (JackLeg, 2021) and Sweet World (CavanKerry, 2019), winner of the Florida Book Award for poetry. Her honors include Lambda Literary Awards for both Lesbian Poetry and Lesbian Memoir, the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, an NEA, Illinois Arts Council Grant, Society of Midland Authors Award, and the Pushcart. She was voted Miami’s Best Poet 2020 by The Miami New Times.

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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.