When I turn on the light I find you
mouth wide, lying
outstretched in my closet,
eating skin that squalls
from my past-their-prime shirts
and neck-stretched cardigans.
I try to speak to you
but I’m swallowing white moths,
or maybe your ashes–
I notice the green urn I bought
to house you at your feet.
My rose carpet has become
a slab of wet concrete
and I wonder whose
bones are in this new mix.
I remember freezing
into a neighbor’s sidewalk when I was ten.
I think I still have my third grade handprints
you saved for me
in the containers
stacked in the basement.
I haven’t opened any of them–
I wonder if they still smell like you.
I am weathering this winter
wearing your powder blue
nightgown and the memory
of the last time I saw your hands
when they held blood.
I am still holding on to your voicemails,
even though I can’t bring myself to listen,
and I can’t find my legs,
or your favorite sweater
that pilled last year,
or the words you say
in this blizzard to comfort me–
they must be somewhere in these drifts.
Victoria Nordlund is the English department chair at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT, an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, and lead master teaching artist of the Write To The Point Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios program at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Her poetry collections Wine-Dark Sea and Binge Watching Winter on Mute are published by Main Street Rag. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Chestnut Review, Pidgeonholes, Maudlin House, and other journals. Visit her at VictoriaNordlund.com
East Tennessee native and mixed media artist Sara Barrett lives blissfully at the foothills of the Smokies with her husband of 12 years, their 11-year-old daughter and two cats. A full-time creative thinker, Barrett repurposes used and discarded materials of all types in her artwork. Scrap paper usually hogs the spotlight. Although she admires most all art forms, she is deeply inspired by music and the talent behind it. Artists including Billie Holiday, U2, Ray LaMontagne, Volbeat and dozens of others can be heard spinning on the turn table in her art room on any given evening. When not creating, Sara enjoys traveling to obscure locations with her family and documenting the experience with amateur photos. Enjoying chocolate, laughing loud and listening to classic rock are also priorities for her. Sara’s artwork has been seen locally at The Emporium in Knoxville and The District Gallery in Bearden. You can see more of her work on Instagram @freelance.muse.