The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Meet Me at the Bottom by Kathleen Hellen

This selection, chosen by Guest Leslie Rzeznik, is from Meet Me at the Bottom by Kathleen Hellen, released by Main Street Rag Press in 2022.

snowflake on the iron

The bare bulb cast its spell on the industry
of lids, the jars boiled, filled with plum tomatoes,
the garlic roped and strung up like a talisman to ward off
Evil, the cod swelling in the vigil of its brine beside
the intellect of squid—eel, clams, the seven fishes—
she said he’d run from milky fog along the front, blistered
with asphyxiations, he shit in his convulsions
Comunista! socialista! facista! she bit her fist,
her words the anise. I sugared the pizzelles
as she leveled with a knife, sifted, whisked
flour, eggs into the spike of whiskey.
The iron waiting like a fire
old as man. If you live
long enough…everybody’s
dead, everything is

Kathleen Hellen’s latest collection is Meet Me at the Bottom from Main Street Rag Publishing Co. Her credits include The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin, the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night, published by Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared in Arts & Letters, Cimarron Review, New Letters, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Hellen’s awards include the Thomas Merton prize for Poetry of the Sacred and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, as well as awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts.

Leslie Rzeznik lives in southeast Michigan. She earned her BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and won The Academy of American Poets prize in 2013. Her work has appeared in AlyssBone BouquetSling Magazine, Willawaw Journal, and Bear River Review.


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