The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Water Cycle by Beth Gordon

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator H.V. Cramond, is from The Water Cycle by Variant Lit in 2022. 

Hydrology (xvii)

One-by-one bobbing away while I manned the lifeboat,
patching another hole with torn dresses & spit. Outside,
the woods are quiet: hummingbirds & cardinals vanished
when a certain light entered the atmosphere, something cold-
toothed, the leaves still green but shadowed. When the phone
rings at 4 am I know there is no sunshine on the other side.
The tide is rising, inch-by-inch, my children say I forgot to pack
clean socks, can you help me find my keys, they say why am I
always afraid. My face in a puddle of water in the parking lot, I see
all the ways I let them almost drown. I mail rolls of duct tape
& swimming manuals, I tighten my own noose. If they are
still alive when I die, they will find all their monsters floating
in jars, hidden beneath my bed.

Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother. She is currently hanging out in Asheville NC where she is one of the few residents who does not claim to go kayaking every morning at 6 am. Beth received an MFA from American University in Washington DC and then disappeared into suburbia for almost 30 years. She reappeared in 2017 and since then has been widely published and has been nominated for Best of the Net, the Orison Anthology, and the Pushcart Prize. Beth is the author of two previous chapbooks and her full-length collection, This Small Machine of Prayer, was published in 2021 by Kelsay Books. She is Managing Editor of Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Co-Editor of Animal Heart Press, and Grandma of Femme Salve Books.

H.V. Cramond holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was the founding Poetry Editor of Requited Journal for 10 years. In 2018, she helped pass the Survivor’s Bill of Rights as the Illinois organizer for Rise. Recent work can be found in Soundless Poetry, Ignavia, death hums, Crack the Spine, BlazeVOX, Menacing Hedge, Adanna, So to Speak, Thank You for Swallowing, Dusie, Masque & Spectacle, Matter, and at


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