The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Dana Guthrie Martin’s “(in the space where I was)”


Selection from “(in the space where i was)”


(because I have saved what I can use)
(and the rest of you will rot soon enough)
(and your eyes watch me from a bowl)
(and later I will feed them to a mouse who will be eaten by a snake)
(and you never stared with such intent when you had lids)
(and the stench enters my lungs without invitation)
(and this is how you speak to me now)
(and how I listen)
(and I breathe deeply to listen deeply)
(and hold my breath when I want silence)
(and every day is sleepwalking)
(and I never wake)
(and our home is as it was but the walls shift in and out)
(and the rooms are not always in the same place)
(and I wait for you to arrive)
(and watch the faceless clock)
(and you must be stuck inside your bones)
(and so I pulverize each one)
(and this work takes days)
(and I spread the dust along your favorite paths)
(and on the bed)
(and I feather it on like shimmering powder)
(and your fingernails I string into a necklace)
(and your teeth I fashion as earrings)
(and I weave your hair into an anklet)
(and they say the world is made of halves)
(and those halves find one another)
(and the first time I saw you I went to you)
(and it was as if I were floating)
(and my bones felt hollow)
(and something moved through them in a rush)
(and when you said my name my body filled as if with viscous liquid)
(and I had no more need for lightness)
(and words vacated my mouth)
(and my skin expunged impurities)
(and your skin was a vacation from my own)
(and I traced letters on your back)
(and you could never get them right)
(and you told me you had nightmares so I held you)
(and did not sleep for years)
(and they say the world is made of parts)
(and those parts recall being whole)
(and I know now that emptiness fills us)
(and what we perceived as space was always inhabited)
(and breathing)
(and it longed for the wholeness we longed for)
(and I circle the pasture three times before entering)
(and step carefully over the cattle guard)
(and remove your head from a lingerie bag)
(and place it on the post)
(and I watch)
(and the crows come)
(and dance around the find)
(and what is left of you is no longer you)
(and it nourishes)

This selection is from Dana Guthrie Martin’s chapbook In the Space Where I Was, available from Hyacinth Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Dana Guthrie Martin’s work has appeared in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012), and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). Dana was recently diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency and thanks all blood and plasma donors for their life-saving donations to those in need.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared inStirring: A Literary CollectionGutter EloquenceArts & LettersRedactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.

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