The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from Pelted by Flowers by Kali Lightfoot, released by CavanKerry Press in 2021. 

Puberty, 1956

I was 12 and wanted to learn to play Schumann’s “Träumerei”
on the piano. We didn’t have a piano, and I couldn’t even play
“Chopsticks,” but like composer Robert, I wanted to sit on the bench

with Clara Schumann. Well, actually I wanted to be close
to Katharine Hepburn, who played Clara, and the piano,
in Song of Love. That year I also wanted to waltz barefoot

with Deborah Kerr in The King and I, comfort Ingrid Bergman
in Anastasia. And I imagined June Allyson’s husky voice speaking
to me alone. I wept, dreamt, and had a crush on my counselor

at summer camp. Watching July Fourth fireworks with my best friend
Madeline, I offered to stand close to keep her warm, and laid
my trembling nonchalant arm across her shoulders.

A gut-twisting sense of wrongness warred with my pleasure
of touching her body. I stayed away from her for all the next day,
rode my bike to the library, and for the first time felt afraid of myself.

Kali Lightfoot lives in Salem, MA. Her poems and reviews of poetry books have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Poetry South, Lavender Review, Broadsides to Books, and Gyroscope. Kali’s work has been nominated twice for Pushcart Prize, and once for Best of the Net. Pelted by Flowersher debut collection, is available from CavanKerry Press and other venues. Kali was once a wilderness ranger in the U.S. Forest Service, and later founding Executive Director of the National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes; before earning an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Callista Buchen is the author of the full-length collection Look Look Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals. She is the winner of the DIAGRAM’s essay contest and the C.D Wright conference’s Emerging Writer award, and is the founder of the Carlson-Stauffer Reading Series at Franklin College. 


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