The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Love Songs from the End of the World by Katherine Riegel

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Erika Eckart, is from Love Songs from the End of the World by Katherine Riegel, released by The Mainstreet Rag in 2019.

You Might Go Down to the Water

You do not believe
it, love, but you are
as necessary as flight.
No cardinal in his red suit
is more than you, no

monarch caterpillar at the leaves
of a milkweed
more possible. You, love,
are both possible and right,

like campfire smoke saturating
clothes and hair, like thunder traveling
so far through the humid air just
to be heard. Yes, in your shame

and sorrow you might go down
to the water and beg
it to take you away at last. Just

remember: even the knives
you carry in your head
are holy, even when they cut down
the mystery you almost
imagine and prod the boggy peat

under which any love you ever had for yourself
pretends to be dead. Why

does everything have to be
so sharp? Try to remember.
The blades are you, and they shine

in the light. Every moment,
every particle of every
thing in the whole damned universe
needs you.

Katherine Riegel is the author of Love Songs from the End of the WorldLetters to Colin Firth (Sundress Chapbook Prize Winner 2015), and two more books of poetry. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Offing,, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and managing editor of Sweet Lit, and teaches independent online classes in poetry and creative nonfiction. Find her at

Erika Eckart is the author of the tyranny of heirlooms, a chapbook of interconnected prose poems (Sundress Publications, 2018). Her writing has appeared in Double Room, Agni, Quarter After Eight, Quick Fiction, Nano Fiction, Quiditty, and elsewhere. She is a High School English Teacher in Oak Park, IL where she lives with her husband and two children.


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