The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Waiting for Charon in the ER

	Bad news is always arriving. ~Adrienne Rich

Make a fist.
The ambulance ride
begins with a deep poke
into a surprised vein.
Open. Close.
Time-lapse photography.
A lotus unfurling
in my palm. I see
sunlight breaking through crowns
of eucalyptus, breathe
oxygen through a tube.
I’d recognize his face
anywhere: paramedic Gauguin,
Civilization is what makes you sick.
Is that why your Christs are yellow and green?
Yes, and blue trees.
What of the red door in the forest?
We are never out of the woods.
Gurneys glide gondola-quiet
through corridored canals.
An oarsman ferries me
into an X-ray room.
His shark tooth bracelet clangs
against the metal buoy.
I want to dive
into his seafoam scrubs,
breaststroke into March.
The doctor orders a rainbow
belt of slender vials.
She pockets my blood
in her jungle print top, swings
on a vine, disappears
into Rousseau’s foliage. I don’t
see her again for 2 hours.
She’s consulted the gorilla
who was sitting on my chest.
I eat red Jell-O with a spork.
Time drifts through saline solution.
A slow drip counts the day’s small hours.
I have the room to myself.
So tempting just to lie
there waiting, stock-still
with a coin in my mouth.

Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at


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