The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Through a Grainy Landscape by Millicent Borges Accardi

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Stephanie Erdman, is from Through a Grainy Landscape by Millicent Borges Accardi, released by New Meridian Arts in 2021. 

Letting Yourself Look Silly or Ridiculous

He said that was it, and the refrigerator
was his. Leaving a note in his schedule book,
the color of ripe plums, “break up with M”
Implying I was tightly wound, with goals
and lists and friendly parents who wanted us
to get married so they could chip in
for a condo. After all, it was the suburbs
and could have been the 50’s or 60’s or any generation
of an era except now, with the ugly tears,
and notes scribbled about a Berkeley
weekend to blow off the grief with clams
casino at Castagnola’s on the pier.
He said he could not afford to move
out, and neither one of us were ridiculous
or silly enough to think outside the box springs
of our jointly-rented apartment, so we unfixed
this shit and stopped speaking to each other,
ditching in at 2am cause that is what 18
year olds do when they are breaking
up their new bodies into separate pieces
for the first time. They share a single bed,
too naive to consider the floor, or even
a neighbor’s pull-out. It was how
it was in those haze-of-a-lifetime-long-
ago-drunk-and-high days, when earnings
were counted in coins on the floor,
stacked up into paper cylinder cones
and taken to the clinic on Monday.
It was a scramble race for cash,
and hours amid a water way of bad restaurant
jobs with bad bosses who wanted everyone
to work off the clock and demanding waitresses
meet them in the walk-in freezer for
hits off the Redi-whip and a grope.
It was a time of trust and sex as if this age
would always be like a small new life frozen
inside as if we would always, always
care this much about everything.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of three poetry collections, including Only More So (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), Injuring Eternity, and Through a Grainy Landscape. Among her awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright, CantoMundo, the California Arts Council, Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Covid grant), Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana (Portugal), and the Barbara Deming Foundation, “Money for Women.” She lives in Topanga, California.

Stephanie L. Erdman graduated Purdue University and received her master’s degree through Indiana University. Her first poetry collection, Pyrrhonic, is available through Dos Madres Press and her second collection, Sankhara, is upcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Stephanie describes her style as anything with music and novelty. Stephanie lives in Northwest Indiana and works as a professor of English, editor, and professional tutor. She lives in Benton Harbor, Michigan with her dog, cat, 18 chickens, a transient partner, and persistent impostor syndrome.


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