The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Kelli Russell Agodon’s “Hourglass Museum”


Drowning Girl: A Waterlogged Ars Poetica

                                    I don’t care! I’d rather sink—than call Brad for help!
                                    from a Roy Lichtenstein painting

As I go under, I wonder if there’s a reason for art?
For poems and taffeta dresses I haven’t worn in years.

I don’t have time to fall inward
or to spend the day obsessing
about how I haven’t written anything
of substance.

I’m floating in the sea, watching killjoys,
I mean, killdeer, run across my shore.

Call it lack. Call it stuck in the muck
of creative debauchery.

There’s no dessert in the picnic basket,
so I swallow time. My mouth is full
of hands and numbers. I ask for seconds.

I eat from everyone’s plates, drink enough
of the red sea to take me under.

I am gluttony with a wristwatch,
hectic in my need to get what I can.

The killjoy sings:
Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

I dream of typewriters, marble
sculptures—all things that sink.

Cormorants dive like falling ampersands,
killdeer become small commas in the sand.

Nightingales fly from closets
of clouds, from white taffeta dresses
hanging from sky.

I have to make a choice:
reach for them on or let them pass.




This selection comes from Kelli Russell Agodon’s book of poetry Houseglass Museum, available from White Pine Press. Purchase your copy here!

Kelli Russell Agodon is an award-winning poet, writer, and editor from the Pacific Northwest. Her most recent collection is Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014) and The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, which she coauthored with Martha Silano. Her second collection, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was chosen by Carl Dennis for the winner of the White Pine Press Book Prize, and was also the Winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year in Poetry as well as a Finalist for the Washington State Book Prize. Her other books include Small Knots, Geography, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry. Kelli was born and raised in Seattle and educated at the University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop where she received her MFA in creative writing.  Kelli is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press and is a Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Retreat for Women Poets. She lives in a small seaside town where she is an avid paddleboarder, mountain biker, and hiker who has a fondness for writing letters, desserts, and fedoras.

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.


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