The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Hexenhaus by Sarah Nichols


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Hexenhaus by Sarah Nichols, released by Milk & Cake Press.

Madame Blanc

After Suspiria (2018)

Susie

I will make her my mother. The one
I would bleed for.

She dances out our shared history:
no ordinary birth.

Our skin beaten anemic white,
our skin beaten Klimt gold

the mother of darkness, me,
destroying her

the death dance she offered.

II. Mme. Blanc

I send her my dreams like
entrails
to read.

She empties herself,

readying, readying. The dance is

the least of this: close your eyes, girl.

I send you stigmata, bleeding feet, marks to
reverse

holiness. We rise together:
mother, daughter.


Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of ten chapbooks, including Press Play for Heartbreak, a memoir about music told in micro essays, forthcoming from Paper Nautilus Press this year. It was also one of the winners for that press’s Vella Chapbook prize last year. She writes frequently on the intersection of pop culture (or any culture, really), and memory, and is just as devoted to film as she is to words. Her work can be found in Everything in Aspic, Drunk Monkeys, Moonchild Magazine, and any of the nine chapbooks she’s had published over the years.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Hexenhaus by Sarah Nichols


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Hexenhaus by Sarah Nichols, released by Milk & Cake Press.

After My Mother’s Death, I Become a Witch

After Suspiria (2018)

I dance her body into
the ground.

Rituals have
their own

geographies: the women
wash her even as she

murmurs that I am the
stain she smeared on

the world. I am instead
the initiate who hosts

all the mysteries that
she prayed to keep me

from. I offer up our blood
for the

promises, red wings, red
rags, my costumes.

She rests on another shore:

her one body a
pirouette of

fire


Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of ten chapbooks, including Press Play for Heartbreak, a memoir about music told in micro essays, forthcoming from Paper Nautilus Press this year. It was also one of the winners for that press’s Vella Chapbook prize last year. She writes frequently on the intersection of pop culture (or any culture, really), and memory, and is just as devoted to film as she is to words. Her work can be found in Everything in Aspic, Drunk Monkeys, Moonchild Magazine, and any of the nine chapbooks she’s had published over the years.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Footnote by Trish Hopkinson


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Footnote by Trish Hopkinson, released by Lithic Press in 2017.

Rumi said, Poetry Can be Dangerous*

like a swan
dive into a sonnet,
balancing blank
verse while posing
for William Tell,
dueling pistols
of Haiku, in five,
no seven, ok five,
& parachuting
couplets falling
from cockpits
found on the wings
of flapping poets.
Dangerous
cinquain snipers
sit atop

sestina sky
scrapers & aim
for iambic secret
agents, each with
five feet with
only two toes.
Lyrics & limericks
eat tanka Twinkies
& smoke epic
cigarettes, chase them
down with bourbon
ballads & shoot


*after Rumi’s The Book of Love: Poems
of Ecstasy and Longing


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Footnote by Trish Hopkinson


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Footnote by Trish Hopkinson, released by Lithic Press in 2017.

Ars Moriendi*

“A SIMPLE Child, / That lightly draws its breath, / And feels its life in every limb, / What should it know of death?” –William Wordsworth

Called back, she slipped quiet
into the longest length of sleep –
quiet enough to hear the buzz
of an insect’s paper wings.

Stoic stillness, a marble statue –
soul and matter merged,
unlike neglected memorials –
initialed stone preserved.

Slipped through fields, beyond
the barn – carried by six Irishmen –
in infant white with violets
and a blushed cypripedium.

None are forbidden by Death –
an ungrown spirit when alive,
promoted to Empress when past –
the dying eye saw an act of light.


*for Emily Dickinson


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Footnote by Trish Hopkinson


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Footnote by Trish Hopkinson, released by Lithic Press in 2017.

Strange Verses*

accidentally
interrupted
adventures
beginning
confused
between
dishes
Alice
made
off
it

interrupting
handwriting
brightened
childhood
dreaming
teacups
shriek
upset
eyes
but
is

triumphantly
remembering
melancholy
collected
yourself
turning
secret
about
that
not
my

neighbouring
neverending
wonderland
character
nonsense
strange
verses
faces
seem
far
in


*a set of reverse snowball poems found in the text of Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Footnote by Trish Hopkinson


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Footnote by Trish Hopkinson, released by Lithic Press in 2017.

In a Room Made of Poetry*

Think how loss pulls language from us until
it swallows everything,
like undiagnosed cancer,
the accumulated past—
less eye, less mouth, less heart.
We had, not much—
thin coffee, thin socks. Here you can
wait, with desire, with
roots exposed
for an open womb. That heart-balm
as hope. The raw
bent—a bowl of fruit
in a language I never knew . . .
without tails, crosses of ts. The autonomous dot of a
blackness answers, There are only ifs.


*found in The Eyes of a Flounder by Laura Hamblin


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Footnote by Trish Hopkinson


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from Footnote by Trish Hopkinson, released by Lithic Press in 2017.

My Monkey Grammarian*

This search, this verbal trap of dread
and the ending unknown.

Is this path the poem—the journey
that dissolves into nothingness?

Is there anything after this narrow trail
of howling trees and screaming monkeys?

Is their rhetoric leading us
to nothing but language?

We are both fleeing and falling like footsteps,
devoured and created like fruit,

precarious and perfect like gravity,
like Galta abandoned.

We are driven by our own ceremonies,
by whirling words and dervish skeletons.

Our linguistic corruption stretches out
to the horizon and curves into the atmosphere,

a maze made of metaphors, stuffed in sacks
and piled in rows. Discourse itself, leaps

back and forth, and grammar leans in
to critique the universe


*for Octavio Paz


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot, released by Valley Press in 2020.

Qumran

for Peter

Scrolled parchment, spiralled into safe-
keeping. Texts pressed, snailed into cells.

Flesh scrolled into mine, just an arm
spun over my waist, my back pressed

to a stomach, hips spooled into parchment
of thighs, hands domed beneath fingers

intersticed, fingers that shudder every so often,
as if to remind me that morning is not yet,

as if to say 4am is but a bookmark,
an airlocked reserve, a reed pen,

a cave of punctuation mark. Aide-
mémoire
. Where-to-return. Papyrus

of iron-gall and carbon soot sheets,
we are tucked into as little space as possible,

in these coils of elsewhere. Nobody knows
us here and we can hardly decipher it ourselves,

yet if this dead sea life is but an afterthought
of words without words, sleep without sleep,

then leave me here, pressed between
mornings, coppered into clay pot dark.


Andrea Witzke Slot is a London-based poet and fiction writer, whose work has won prizes with Able Muse and Fiction International and placed in a number of competitions in both the US and UK. Her work can be found in such places as Ambit, American Literary Review, The Southeast Review, and Stand Magazine. After teaching for many years, Andrea now lives in London where she works as a contributing artist with Fiona Lesley’s Poetry Exchange and works to capture humanity and nature in words, paints, piano and photography. Her publications include To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press 2012) and The Ministry of Flowers (Valley Press 2020). Find her online on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot, released by Valley Press in 2020.

Book Burning

for Michael and Elene

Bookworms of the wood-boring-beetle-kind
(not their six grown children who, when new
books arrived, devoured them one at a time)
had burrowed into their words and their rooms,
their secret storage of stories that lined
the many walls of their labyrinth home.
How fat the worms had grown with fifty silent
years of chewing, how fat and full and settled.

They set off to cull the infected books,
carefully choosing those beyond redemption,
piling them near the grinning wood fire stove
in the small nook of their coldest room. Then—
with reluctance, dismay—they fed the mouth
of the fire, stoked book by book, the pages
fanning as the grate chewed before swallowing
in one magnificent gulp—ink, spine, carbon.

They felt thinner as the fire blazed and gained
strength, until suddenly—in his hand—a lost
songbook appeared. He studied the book’s changed
state and, with its heat on his knees, he flipped
its pock-marked pages and hummed a refrain.
His wife leaned near. They looked up. They nodded.
He slipped the book under his thigh, released
it from the fate of the furnace’s heat.

Later, as from the pit they shovelled ashes,
the couple marvelled at how the worms ate
through their words, nibbled at long-stored memories—
the sought-after-and-found, the times-not-taken,
the what-can-never-be-lost, the times-moved-on,
and what-can-never-be-recovered, struck
most by what they found in one book’s recollection—
a hymn for all they spared from time’s jawing destruction.


Andrea Witzke Slot is a London-based poet and fiction writer, whose work has won prizes with Able Muse and Fiction International and placed in a number of competitions in both the US and UK. Her work can be found in such places as Ambit, American Literary Review, The Southeast Review, and Stand Magazine. After teaching for many years, Andrea now lives in London where she works as a contributing artist with Fiona Lesley’s Poetry Exchange and works to capture humanity and nature in words, paints, piano and photography. Her publications include To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press 2012) and The Ministry of Flowers (Valley Press 2020). Find her online on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot


This selection, chosen by Guest Editor Jordi Alonso, is from The Ministry of Flowers by Andrea Witzke Slot, released by Valley Press in 2020.

An autobiography called skin

Small, red, rinsed, held. Fleshy folds in tiny fists shaken.
Something like blessings dress the pleats of infant skin.

In shared baths, three sisters inspect split knees and stitched chins.
Laughter mixes with broken words, broken hearts, broken skin.

Long drives of teenage discovery, of mouths, hands, lights dimmed.
Collisions called education, drunken summer nights, near a cool lake, skin to skin.

The arguer refuses the status quo, works on factory floors, learns her bruises are from him.
Dialogues sharpen visions of change. Three women swear to defend one another’s skin.

And still she exists: the college-girl hubris, the shame of stringbean limbs.
All that can never be. Why can’t youth love the smooth deceit of skin?

Mismatched desire in a place I cannot begin or end.
I fall for a man who falls for me. He becomes my country of world-weary skin.

Meet the graduate, love in an upturned bed, a country without kin.
Slough off the old, smile through brutal truths, dress in a pretty wife-skin.

Moments too soon, a firstborn splendour slips into being.
This wide-eyed girl rests holy at my breast, feeds from aureole moon-skin.

Years pass: teaching, reading, painting strange synesthetic dreams.
What is love but trying, staying, fighting for what lives inside children’s skin?

Bruises yellow in waters of need, as into the world, a second swims.
She unfolds maps to places I’ve never been, riverscapes of maternal skin.

Courage grows for them. Husband turns into gone. Back to a country where once I lived.
For two daughters, I learn alone: the touch of one between sheets of untouched skin.

Poverty arrives. Two daughters, three jobs, a land-locked PhD. I learn what addiction is.
For nights I cry on a bathroom floor. Prayer lives in many skins.


Andrea Witzke Slot is a London-based poet and fiction writer, whose work has won prizes with Able Muse and Fiction International and placed in a number of competitions in both the US and UK. Her work can be found in such places as Ambit, American Literary Review, The Southeast Review, and Stand Magazine. After teaching for many years, Andrea now lives in London where she works as a contributing artist with Fiona Lesley’s Poetry Exchange and works to capture humanity and nature in words, paints, piano and photography. Her publications include To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press 2012) and The Ministry of Flowers (Valley Press 2020). Find her online on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Jordi Alonso holds a BA from Kenyon College, an MFA from Stony Brook University, and a PhD in English from the University of Missouri where he studied nineteenth century British literature, classical reception in the Victorian era, and ancient Greek. He will begin his studies towards an MA in Classical Studies at Columbia University in the fall. His first book, a collection of erotic poems inspired by Sappho, Honeyvoiced, was published by XOXOX Press in November of 2014. His chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook was published in 2017 by Red Flag Press. He is currently writing a third book of poems based on ancient Greek divination practices at Delphi.