The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Dawn Lonsinger’s “Whelm”



At night something blue
brushes over the laundry.

Our house holds our dishes and
necks away from the come-hither
chroma of stars.

The lamp flounces a little
skirt of light onto the dresser.

You are naked, kneeling
by the bath, your palm
under the water as if to
stop it.

Our house holds many mirrors.
Our house holds drawers
of thumbtacks and ink.

The moon is not a marrying
but in it everything a chamber,

Our house is saturated
with carpet. I hear the hum of a sky
that scissors elsewhere. Sea
sound of unfastening.

Our house holds portraits snug
against its chest.

I am pulling out
bobby pins. It is an era
of subtraction.

From outside looking in, our house
is a gash between curtains.
But you are warm,
lifted, cupped, the water

hugging you in half.

This selection comes from Dawn Lonsinger’s book Whelm, available from Lost Horse Press. Purchase your copy here!

In addition to Whelm, Dawn Lonsinger is the author of two chapbooks: the linoleum crop (Jeanne Duval Editions; chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the 2007 Terminus Magazine Chapbook Contest), and The Nested Object (Dancing Girl Press). You can see the books and other things on her website: Her poems have recently appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Colorado Review, Subtropics, Crazyhorse, Guernica, Third Coast, Poetry East, and elsewhere.  Lyric essays are out in recent issues of Black Warrior Review and Western Humanities Review.  Dawn is the recipient of the Corson Bishop Prize, Smartish Pace’s Beullah Rose Prize, a Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship. More recently she won the Scowcroft Prize (chosen by Lidia Yuknavitch), an Academy of American Poets Prize (chosen by Heather McHugh), three Utah Arts Council Writing Awards, the Utah Writers’ Contest in prose (chosen by Susan Steinberg) and poetry (chosen by Wayne Koestenbaum), runner up for the Poetry Society of America’s Emily Dickinson Award (chosen by H.L. Hix), runner up for The Bat City Review Art & Writing Collaboration Prize (chosen by Tomaž Šalamun), and was awarded four Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes. She was also selected by Claudia Emerson for Best New Poets 2010. Dawn did her undergraduate studies at Bucknell University, majoring in English and photography.

Marika von Zellen has a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell College (no, not the one in Ithaca). She’s had poetry and fiction published in Open Field, Temporary Infinity, The Grin City Monthly, and the anthology Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. As an Editorial Assistant for Sundress, she’s copy-edited the book Picture Dictionary (2014); as a freelance editor she copy-edited the photography book Face It (2013). In the summer of 2012, she attended the Grin City Collective Artist Residency in Iowa. Besides writing, she enjoys theoretical physics, playing piano, ghost-hunting, climbing trees, and drinking good Czech beer. She’s also a scholar of Lewis Carroll.


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