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.
some things a shirt can’t shrug off, hanging without arms
The line an anchor in the snarl of breeze, swoon of car bus truck. The ink that afternoons the leaves. She memorizes sky before it darkens, before the sun turns back and all the houses in the cul de sac flicker with their gadgets. Air conditioners hum. The city thrums with energies. A woman through the glimpse of trees unpinning in the thinning sunlight socks without the feet. Pants like amputees. A puppet world in reaches. Some things she can’t get clean in precious water.
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 Alyss, Bone Bouquet, Sling Magazine, Willawaw Journal, and Bear River Review.