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Speaker of English as a Second Language

Mara Adamitz Scrupe

we might look at the teeth        the length of leg 


             or we might consider                  the carapace/ the slough 

or the soil that contains it

or we might ponder                   its crust/ its components:


              Mycobacterium vaccae/ bacterium specifically


we might inhale its microbes 

plunge our fingertips in 


              pack it under our nails


cause our cytokine levels                     to rise


we might admit we’re no geniuses except 

for our kindnesses/ forgiveness/ disappointments admeasured 


               unfolded          regrets/ stains that bind mine profoundly


to yours: saltwater rivulets                   streaming/ antipodean 


south                  to north             veins 

               to arteries/ backwards again or in hope trustingly 


               near - missed or gone unnoticed 


we might repeat              is it possible                     is it possible 


a phrase employed by the speaker of English as a second 

language           meaning maybe            or will you           please 

Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a poet and visual artist. She has created significant bodies of work in poetry, artists’ books, sculpture, installation, and social practice. Her awards include the National Endowment for the Arts/CEC ArtsLink fellowship, the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) Individual Fellowship, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship. She is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (Ireland), and has been awarded residencies by the Montalvo Arts Center, the Irish Museum of Modern Art Residency Programme (Dublin), and USF Verftet-AiR/Bergen (Norway). 


In 2015 Adamitz Scrupe’s poem Arillus won commendation in the International Poetry Competition of the Poetry Society (London UK), and she has won or been shortlisted for the Eyewear Press Lorgnette Chapbook Series, Fool for Poetry Pamphlet Competition, Erbacce poetry Prize, Periplum Book Award, Bright Hill Press Book Prize, Sentinel Poetry Book Competition, Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, Canterbury Poetry Festival Prize, Ron Pretty Poetry Prize, and the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Award (Australia). She is the author of two collections, Sky Pilot (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and BEAST (NFSPS, 2015), and in late 2017, Eyewear Press (London UK) will publish her new chapbook collection entitled Magnalia. Mara Adamitz Scrupe is professor of Fine Arts at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she teaches visual art and creative writing.

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