The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: What Weaponry by Elizabeth J. Colen

In the sink, the leafy tops of carrots, curve of molded
onion, the dog hair and red mud you rinsed off your
hands. We’re supposed to see stars tonight, the
Perseids, but you’re tired. I wanted to be gone by
morning, but can’t shake the headache and refuse to
drive blind. The distance between my face and the
window, between the hot water in my hands and the
fogged glass hums. I turn off the water and the space
still hums and the glass stays wet with the heat. In
the shed the bulb light snaps off and I watch you
cover the yard with your anger, hands down at your
sides. They don’t really move when you walk, not
when you’re like this. And then you look up. There
was a moment in Vegas when I really believed you
knew how neon worked. Gas stranded in a tube,
something about numbers. Then you lost everything
we had, also about numbers, including the fifty you
made from selling my watch. The man in the
pawnshop thought we were criminals, like everyone
else, working at ruining lives. He held a toothpick in
his mouth so long, the sogged wood wouldn’t leave
his lip when he spit. We won’t ever be like him. His
smoke-yellow hair. Night-driving, no money to pay
the hotel. When the car stalled in the desert we saw
stars, they were like this, falling and new.

This selection comes from the collection What Weaponry, available from Black Lawrence Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Jessica Rae Bergamino.

Elizabeth J. Colen is most recently the author of What Weaponry, a novel in prose poems. Other books include poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Lambda Literary Award finalist in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies, flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake, long poem / lyric essay hybrid The Green Condition, fiction collaboration Your Sick, and the forthcoming fiction collaboration True Ash. Nonfiction editor at Tupelo Press and freelance editor/manuscript consultant, she teaches at Western Washington University.

Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of UNMANNED, forthcoming from Noemi Press, as well as the chapbooks The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them (Sundress Publications), The Mermaid Singing (dancing girl press), and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press). Individual poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She is a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she serves as Reviews Editor for Quarterly West.


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