The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: JoAnn Balingit’s “Words for House Story”



A new place will always have a window
         where you stand
         looking out.

Over the kitchen sink is good
         overlooking a field
         of stubble end of winter

waiting for water to boil, gazing at fog
         the trees about to unfurl

will fill this view with fierce green light.
         I used to think
         I was immune

I could shed dead leaves each fall.
         Someday soon
         when my children are happy

to see me, I will tell them they are the wind
         carving the grass
         its low pulse, a light

I bring to this table
         I bought myself, with
         one chair to offer.

This selection comes from JoAnn Balingit’s book Words for House Story, available now from WordTech Editions. Purchase your copy here!

JoAnn Balingit is the author of Words for House Story and two award-winning chapbooks. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Cutthroat, DIAGRAM, Salt Hill and Verse Daily; and she’s been a featured performer at Sunday Salon NYC, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago and Feats of Poetic Strength in Philadelphia. As Delaware’s poet laureate and an arts-in-education advocate, she coordinates the state’s Poetry Out Loud contest and Delaware’s Scholastic Writing Awardsprogram for grades 7 – 12. Fellowships from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Camargo Foundation (as a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Fellow in fiction) have been vital to her work. JoAnn is an assistant editor at YesYes Books. Please visit at!

Melanie Jordan‘s chapbook, Ghost Season, is available from Ropewalk Press; her work has been published in the Iowa Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Southeast, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Southeast Review, and others. She studied Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before receiving her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her doctorate from the University of Houston. She currently teaches Creative Writing, literature, and composition at the University of West Georgia. Her debut collection,Hallelujah for the Ghosties, was published by Sundress in 2015.


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