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

This town smells like a campfire this morning. It’s
burning up, one building at a time. Century-old
storefronts explode like Roman candles, white
smoke lines townie lungs, water flows uphill from
spent hoses, slickening the streets, throwing street
lights back at the sky. Lost inside the quaint
museum. All totem poles, daguerreotypes of
industry men, and quilts from someone’s bed.
“Maybe they take them back home at night.” How to
spread even after everyone’s seen. How to still
warm. Coffee circle over one yellow square. Stain on
grape appliqué, auburn oblong like blood or
chocolate or mud from some tiny fist. Tell me more
about your father’s felled trees. Pine and aspen,
sequoia, juniper, hemlock. Skagit River Tug and
Schooner Bella. One Log Road and Steam Skimmer,
White Logger. Saw one half open-mouthed smile,
saw the other half just below. Scream in the woods
like some rush to forgiveness. Creak in your arm,
pulling splinters.

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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