The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Angela Howe Decker’s “Splendid Catastrophe”

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From Angela Howe Decker’s chapbook, “Splendid Catastrophe”


Teddy has cancer and can’t eat
so he feeds me.

When we meet at the park he lifts
Tupperware, foil-wrapped treats, napkins
from a brown grocery sack.
With papery
fingers, he
gives me onion latkes he made himself,
pickles from a deli in Medford.

I don’t want to eat
with him so thin,
so clearly dying.
But he hands me the food,
says someone has to have all this goodness.

He talks of being a kid in Hoboken,
his early friendship with Frank Sinatra.
How once they both got sick
on zeppoles, a fried pastry with ricotta cheese, cherries.

Teddy says he’ll be gone by winter.
He hands me an éclair and the
cream is so thick, it clings to my teeth,
the deep sweetness stays in my throat.

He talks of his dead wife,
the fireman’s dance where they met,
her saucy voice and quick wit,
the deep silence when she was gone.

This selection comes from Angela Howe Decker’s chapbook Splendid Catastrophe, available from Finishing Line Press. Purchase your copy here!

Angela Howe Decker lives in Ashland, Oregon with her husband, two sons, and way too many pets. Her poems have appeared in African VoicesHip MamaThe Wisconsin ReviewComstock ReviewJefferson Monthly, and others. She teaches introduction to poetry writing at Southern Oregon University and writes an art & literature column for the local newspaper. Her work appears in the recent anthology, Knotted Bond: Oregon Poets Speak of Their Sisters. Her chapbook, Splendid Catastrophe was published this year by Finishing Line Press.

Leslie LaChance‘s poems have appeared in Quiddity, JMWW, the Best of the Net Anthology, Apple Valley Review, The Greensboro Review, Juked, The Birmingham Poetry Review, Slow Trains, Free Lunch, Chronogram, and Appalachian Journal. She also edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration. Her chapbook, How She Got That Way, appears in the quartet volume Mend & Hone from Toadlily Press.

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