The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Kirsten Kowalewski, is from Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander released by CavanKerry Press in 2021.

My Heaven Would Be Studded with Fathers

My father in his blue
and white striped bathing suit,
holding me by the ankles,
my hair sweeping
the Good Harbor sand,

my father tossing quarters
into the toll basket as we
cross the Tobin Bridge
toward his house
for the weekend,

my father quizzing me
on the singers
of Motown radio tunes
while we drive, and
on my times tables,

my father stuffed
into a student desk
on Parent Night,
defending my efforts
to my algebra teacher,

my father inhaling
a joint, then passing it
my way on the back steps
of a fading purple
Victorian in Dorchester,

my father in a fisherman’s
sweater holding
my swaddled firstborn
with a look on his face
I’d never seen,

my father reading her
Frog and Toad and looking
like Frog or Toad himself,
in his tweed jacket with
patches on the elbows,

my father reading a prayer
to me and my beloved
at our wedding, wearing
seersucker, happy to
bring God into the room,

my father, rendered speechless,
on a gurney, clutching my hand,
in an anonymous corner
at Mass General that I won’t
forget the whiteness of,

my father in the woods,
placing stones on top of
other stones, then back
in the woods to see
who’s added to his cairns,

then not in the woods at all,
then in the woods everywhere,
my father, in the woods
like stars in the ether, spangling
everything in a wash of light.

Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Massachusetts Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere, and her collaborative visual and written work has been published in multiple venues online and in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press, 2018). Rebecca’s books include a chapbook, Dressing the Wounds (dancing girl press, 2019), and her debut full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats (CavanKerry Press, 2021), which was given a “Must Read” distinction from the Massachusetts Center for the Book as a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. Rebecca teaches writing at Westfield State University and Amherst College and works with poets in the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. She is the editor/director of Perugia Press.

Kirsten Kowalewski is the editor for online horror fiction review resource Monster Librarian. She has an MLS and a specialist certificate in school library media from Indiana University, has worked as a children’s librarian and elementary school media specialist, and is a lifelong reader.


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