The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: FOREVERHAUS by Kaley Tedesco


the importance of the candyhaus is soft-sleep, voices spoken
in this ungentle rendering of my gingerbones. my birth took place

in new jersey, palace of fountain malls & ricotta tongues. i arrived
to that world pickled in the juice of my own past lives. my teenaged

mother kept her distance, found too much of me in her sleep. the first
night of air-breathing brought me no dreams, but talk with the dead

is ashore within me, my openings all shut up with salts. i was
fawn-bodied, now just a head, a cameo appearance carted off

into the pine barrens, no licorice for snacking, left wrapped
only in the scrying lake. this upbringing of caravans left me

at the altar of a folklore i’ll one day come to champion. mrs. leeds,
motherwitch, i am child thirteen, if you’ll have me in your shack

of sugar toys & smelling salts, shack of sundries & mortar-cobbler.
it takes a village—the majority rules to swath me in a pumpkin

carving. mischief night is lost to time, burned celluloid—theda bara,
vampirequeen, in my every waking thought, gone before i enter.

this starpower, beloved to me, never blamed my stopping
heart on the ghost of my past relatives, never knew my body

arrived to this world laced in the ectoplasm it left with & surely
none of me was left over for the breadcrumb following,

scrubbing the dirt road to find the sour ribboning of the witch
who bore me, still alive & crowned in pinecones. there was never

any devil in your cow’s milk—only me.

This selection comes from FOREVERHAUS, available from White Stag. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kimberly Ann Priest.

Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing) and Lizzie, Speak (winner of White Stag Publishing’s 2018 MS Contest). Her newest collection, FOREVERHAUS, is now available from White Stag. She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine, and she teaches literature and writing at Moravian College and Northampton Community College. You can find her work in Electric Literature,The Journal, Ninth Letter, Fairy Tale Review, Black Warrior Review, and more. For further information, please visit

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderland and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review. Find her work at

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