The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Then Winter” by Chloe Honum


“Teaching Poetry at the Juvenile Detention Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas”

It’s cold and the light is blurry,
the fluorescents spasming,
the walls a steely gray.
Each child is given a pencil.

Their cells are just beyond
the heavy sliding doors.
They write get-away poems
and tree-house poems.

Sack of weed and siren poems.
A flea appears on my arm and
quivers, like a fleck of onyx.
I watch it bite and gleam and the boys

sitting across from me
watch it, too. In a cement
tomb, hope is anything
that travels in big leaps.

This selection comes from the chapbook Then Winter, available from Bull City Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Donna Vorreyer.

Chloe Honum was raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Her first collection, The Tulip-Flame (2014), was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, won the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and a Texas Institute of Letters Award, and was named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. She’s also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, and The Southern Review, and her awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. She is currently an assistant professor at Baylor University.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks. She works as a middle school teacher in the Chicago suburbs.

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