The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: If I Could Write You a Happier Ending by Mary Warren Foulk

This selection, chosen by guest editor Jillian Fantin, is from If I Could Write You a Happier Ending by Mary Warren Foulk, released by dancing girl press in 2021.

Self Portrait with Erosion

Do you remember
the sting of lemon sherbet
on our chins sunburnt
from hours playing
in white sand?

Riding bikes
bought at end-of-season
yard sales
for $10 at best,
their squeaky wheels
and rusted shells?
Mine was red,
yours a pitch pine,
and their pedals hummed
and clanged making silhouettes
across black tar.

Seagulls cried in the slow
breeze of ocean tides
eroding Stone Harbor
so gently
over time.

And Grandmother’s house on
106th Street
one of the last standing,
the only A-frame
with its pebble lawn
eclipsed by mini-mansions
on undersized lots
meant for humbler destinies.

Bare feet on coarse
damp morning beach,
a long walk to the stone
siblings breathing
in the shared air
to watch fishermen
catch doomed crabs
snapping against their

Do you remember
the soft taffy
fresh from the loom
of an open window
deep crowds waiting for
a sticky

Later, with blistered skin
we noted cracked
sidewalks on the
meandering route

Sea-air stained
a salty film covering
weathered curtains
dancing in dusty windows
to shadow
ceiling beams and

Background sounds of
crashing waves—
our childhood’s

If I were to visit now,
how would it feel
without you?

Mary Warren Foulk has been published in Fjords Review, The Hollins Critic, Pine Hills Review, Palette Poetry, Silkworm, and Steam Ticket, among other publications. Her work also has appeared in (M)othering Anthology (Inanna Publications), and My Loves: A Digital Anthology of Queer Love Poems (Ghost City Press). Her chapbook, If I Could Write You a Happier Ending, was selected by dancing girl press (2021) for their annual series featuring women poets. Her manuscript Self-Portrait with Erosion was a finalist for the 2021 Gival Press Poetry Award.

Jillian A. Fantin is a writer with roots in the American South and north central England. They are a 2023 Sundress Publications Editorial Intern, a 2021 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Poet Fellow, and a 2020 Jefferson County Memorial Project Research Fellow. With writer Joy Wilkoff, they co-founded and edit RENESME LITERARY. Jillian’s debut chapbook, A Playdough Symposium, will be released this coming summer from Ghost City Press, and more of their writing appears in American Journal of Poetry, Homology Lit, Tilted House, Spectra Poets, Barrelhouse, and, among others.

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