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Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco (Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry)

Original price $15.99 - Original price $15.99
Original price
$15.99
$15.99 - $15.99
Current price $15.99

Format: Paperback

Condition: New

Author: K. Iver

Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco , selected by Tyehimba Jess for the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry, is an aching tribute to the power and precarity of queer love.

In small-town Mississippi, before the aughts, a child “assigned ‘woman’” and a boy “forced to call / himself a girl” love one another—from afar, behind closed doors, in motels. The child survives an injurious mother and the beast-shaped men she brings home; the boy becomes a soldier. Years later, the boy—the eponymous beloved, Missy—dies by suicide, kicking up a riptide of memory. This is where K. Iver writes, at the confluence of love poem and elegy. “I say to the water if you were here, / you’d be here.”

With cinematic precision, they conjure dorm-room landlines, the lingering sweetness of shared candy, a ballet strap and “soft / fingers tracing it, afraid to touch / the skin.” They punctuate depictions of familial abuse and the cruel politics of the Deep South with fairy tales: a girl who endures abuse refusing to grow into a mother who inflicts it herself, queer youth kissing fearlessly, bodies transcending the violence of a reductive gender binary. In these fantasies, “there’s no / reason to leave town no hidden / torches waiting for us to fall asleep.”

Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco sees us through a particular kind of grief—one so relentless, it’s precious. It presses us, also, to continue advocating for a world in which queer love fantasies become reality and queer love poems “swaddle the impossible / contours of joy.”