The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: How Her Spirit Got Out by Krysten Hill

Photo Credit: Jon Beckley

Widow’s Advice
We love like we’re born eyeless,
thick skin where globes
of sight should go.
In the dark, we don’t see
they’re only loving
their trigger fingers.
Only loving
what their hands do
when they make accidents.
We find the body,
make ashes of what’s left,
dream of them
putting gun barrels
in our mouths instead.
We don’t know how
to be widows in a corner
wearing their name this heavy
and black so we bake our mourn
into pies and serve.
Don’t give everything away
to men who only give love
written in letters, mailed,
and postmarked, dated
on the back of photos,
where they’re young, smiling,
and unarmed.
widow’s advice

They will find bullets.
Don’t give up both wings.
Be so quick to tear them off,
to stay close to their aim.
Learn to give one word,
never your whole
name, maybe a sound.
See what they make from it,
or give them feathers
to remember your body by,
and only at night,
when you can shape shift,
travel outside your skin.
Stop naming your mood disorders
after all the shitty small towns
you didn’t die in with him.
Stop lining up pills
like you’re prepping
battle strategies, stuffing towels
under a bathroom door
so that the men after him
don’t hear you pray his name.
Stop running
to a house he built you
in a dream where’s he’s opening
a screen door, where he’s saying,
Come in.

Call that house Grief.
Let him keep it, that house
of wraparound porches,
and gardens that weep in red
overgrowth. There is rot
in those floorboards.
There is poison
in those poppies.
Let him keep it.
Don’t keep a dead man’s promises,
tuck them between
your heart strings,
press them in the pages
of your favorite spine.
Don’t write soliloquies
for some Ophelia
inside you throwing stones
down your throat to find
the depth in that dark. Instead,
tie them to the highest point you know.
Watch them float.
Keep letting out line.
Let there be distance.
Give them to all that sky
to swallow.

This selection comes from the collection How Her Spirit Got Out, available from Aforementioned Productions. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Krista Cox.

Krysten Hill is an educator, writer, and performer who has showcased her poetry on stage at the Boston Book Festival, Merrimack College, The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and many others. She received her MFA in poetry from UMass Boston where she currently teaches. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in apt, The Baltimore Review, B O D Y, Word Riot, Muzzle, PANK, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine Review and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Her chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out, received the 2017 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize.

Krista Cox is a paralegal and poet living in northern Indiana. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, The Indianola Review, Whale Road Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among other places in print and online. She twice received the Lester M. Wolfson Student Award in Poetry, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. In her abundant spare time, Krista parents, paints, and plans community events as the Program Director of Lit Literary Collective. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about her at

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