The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Constellation of Freckles by Keri Withington

Secret City

House, kids, dogs: I’m settled now. Situated
though I’ve moved so many times I can’t remember addresses,
phone numbers, roommate names. Cosmic rays bathed my airplanes;
starlight saturated my dented water bottle.

My grandmother kept her house in Atlanta ‘til she was ninety.
She attributed her health to an apply a day, her fear of doctors,
the Diet Coke and frosting tub she kept in her walker’s basket. She stayed
active bird-watching, gossiping, eating Varsity hot dogs.

School district, fenced yard, hardwood floors: we bought
our house for the family friendly area, affordable price tag, the right
number of bedrooms. The radioactive materials in our town are among the
most concentrated in the world. The labs world-known.

We swim in our own radioactive waste.
The lakes have No Fishing signs; the fish have three eyes
or none at all. The algae spreads too quickly, chokes wildlife and boat
motors. Plants trap spilt mercury, grow toxic.

Swing-sets, greenways, imported sand: we take
Our kids to the lake, enjoy the city’s parks. My kitchen still
has a microwave, we still screw in fluorescent
light bulb. But we avoid GMOs, eat organic.

The same birds my grandmother fed every morning
migrate up the Appalachians, flock at the lakeshore, peck seeds
from my porch. My kids find their abandoned nests, unhatched eggs, collect
them with crystal shale, misshapen acorns.

This selection comes from Constellation of Freckles, available from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Shannon Wolf.

Keri Withington is an Appalachian based poet and educator. Her work has previously appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.Her first chapbook is Constellation of Freckles from Dancing Girl Press. Her second chapbook, Beckoning From the Waves, is forthcoming from Plan B Press. As well as writing, Withington is an assistant professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College. Her writing explores themes of feminism, family, and nature.

Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Louisiana. She is currently a joint MA-MFA candidate in Poetry at McNeese State University. She is the Non-Fiction Editor of The McNeese Review, and Social Media Intern for Sundress Publications. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge and Great Weather for Media, among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.

Leave a Reply