The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: No Other Rome by Heather Green


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Katherine DeCoste, is from No Other Rome by Heather Green, released by University of Akron Press in 2021. 

A Series of Holes Connected by String

               “When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots,
               we become part of the unity of our environments.”
               —Yayoi Kusama

A net, according to Samuel Johnson:
a series of holes connected by string,

the net of Indra faceted with jewels,
glittering web infinitely reflecting itself
and everything else, history told

by the victors, the story itself
a spoil. Yet the past is not a place.
You can’t go home again, my Dad
so often said. He seemed to know

home as a time; he had been there
in mine. I’ve never yet let go of him
or you because you both were there:
your childhood, mine, epic light-drenched
vacation. The underwater world bright,

coral reefs infinite, and like everything else,
I often made it hard, but the water
reminded me I was no one. Born in the year
of the dog underneath a Sagittarius star,
I’m still a loyal wanderer, but oblivion gets in.
Once I love, it means ruin, but here I scatter

back into the present, bright fatherless regression
of offset mirrors, funny valentines, photographable
gemlike farewell lanterns cast onto the internet,
obliterated into pixels, disseminated
in liquid crystal before our bodies spoil.
I barely remember the islands,
the holes, a world now come to fire and ice.


Heather Green‘s poetry collection No Other Rome was released in March of 2021 (Akron Poetry Series). Her writing has appeared in Bennington Review, Everyday Genius, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the translator of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won (Octopus Books, 2018) and her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote and Poetry International, and are forthcoming in AGNI. Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at George Mason University.

Katherine DeCoste is an MA student at the University of Victoria, on the stolen lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples and the WSANEC peoples. Their poems have appeared in Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere, and their play “many hollow mercies” won the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize. When not writing, reading, or answering emails, you can find them baking vegan snacks and forcing their friends to play Dungeons and Dragons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: No Other Rome by Heather Green


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Katherine DeCoste, is from No Other Rome by Heather Green, released by University of Akron Press in 2021. 

The Angel is an Amalgam

               For Ladrea Icaza

In winter he wore a winter beard

He was sky high in the spring
His head grew light he let down the most

Delicate line he said get in the car
& on the ride a thick red book fell

From his mouth like a lullaby
He told how you crossed that chalky line

I didn’t sleep I cried I curled
To the window on the passenger side

& just like that I remembered back
I asked him changer or destroyer?

He just narrowed his eyes and said
Forever in a wave like the pushy sound

A seashell makes then he slowed
His hand down the backs of my legs

And you know me I could not
Believe him but I was made smaller

For a time by desire I was sorry
Lad I’m sorry because all this time

I never said your name
It thundered and when the angel said

Defenestration he pushed a flat
Hand to the side & I fell down fast


Heather Green‘s poetry collection No Other Rome was released in March of 2021 (Akron Poetry Series). Her writing has appeared in Bennington Review, Everyday Genius, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the translator of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won (Octopus Books, 2018) and her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote and Poetry International, and are forthcoming in AGNI. Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at George Mason University.

Katherine DeCoste is an MA student at the University of Victoria, on the stolen lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples and the WSANEC peoples. Their poems have appeared in Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere, and their play “many hollow mercies” won the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize. When not writing, reading, or answering emails, you can find them baking vegan snacks and forcing their friends to play Dungeons and Dragons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: No Other Rome by Heather Green


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Katherine DeCoste, is from No Other Rome by Heather Green, released by University of Akron Press in 2021. 

Aristotle is a Skeleton

The skeleton called out for sets of bones
to fill the hole, but then you reached your arm in,
your fingers stretched down to the unknown,
the loam, the moon-shy dark. You called, Abstraction!
as your fingers shaped into the word for five
but didn’t pull your hand back from the black
of the abyss until the digits, still alive,
became just 5. You cried, It’s too abstract!

when your arm snapped back: at the end of the limb
stood |5| which looked so vast but in fact was only
that which is not not five. At first you’d say
the skeleton had been the villain, blaming him,
but for the lure of the leap, the loss, though lonely.
In time, the hole transformed you all the way.


Heather Green‘s poetry collection No Other Rome was released in March of 2021 (Akron Poetry Series). Her writing has appeared in Bennington Review, Everyday Genius, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She is the translator of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won (Octopus Books, 2018) and her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote and Poetry International, and are forthcoming in AGNI. Green is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art at George Mason University.

Katherine DeCoste is an MA student at the University of Victoria, on the stolen lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples and the WSANEC peoples. Their poems have appeared in Grain Magazine, The Antigonish Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and elsewhere, and their play “many hollow mercies” won the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition Novitiate Prize. When not writing, reading, or answering emails, you can find them baking vegan snacks and forcing their friends to play Dungeons and Dragons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 23: Iris, Three Rivers, 1931, Spring

            It is difficult for me to remember when the trajectory of our lives shifted. Was it when Jasmine walked into our house in her simple, cream-colored cotton jacket, red pants, her long braid reaching to her slender lower back? Was it when You-jun jumped into the lotus pond and Jasmine said she would jump in with him if he didn’t come back? Or was it when Jasmine was sent back to Cloud Gate when You-jun was away in Chengdu? When I close my eyes, all the people and events float in front of me as if I were watching a puppet show, but I cannot remember what the main act was.

            If I had written it down back then, I might have remembered more clearly. But words only come to me now, after twenty years. After Mother was gone forever. After I myself have a grown daughter.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 23: Iris, Three Rivers, 1931, Spring

When the news came, I wept. I had the urge to pour everything out on paper. But still, I needed the sprouting life of a new spring to give me the final motivation. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter, the four seasons will always come and go, even when people are gone forever. What we can hold on are memories and stories. I need to tell the stories and keep the memories alive.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 9: Three Rivers, 1910

            On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important holidays and second only to the Chinese New Year, the three families gathered in Three Rivers to celebrate. Old Wang and Tiger came from Cloud Gate after finishing farm work. Master Han rented a showboat so everyone could be on the water, under the brightest full moon of the year, and enjoy the good food, wine, scenery, and each other’s company.

            The cook and his helpers worked all day to prepare the feast: moon cakes, roasted duck, pumpkin soup, steamed marbled pork belly with taro, and the must-have delicacy of the occasion, fresh river hairy crab steamed with thinly sliced ginger, garlic, and scallion. Old Wang brought wine made from osmanthus flowers. Everything was packed into baskets and brought on board.

            The wind was calm. The water was smooth like glass. The full moon hung low in the sky, white as silver, its shadows of Chang’e and the Jade Rabbit dark as spilled ink, as if reachable if they kept rowing the boat just a little further. The osmanthus trees were in full bloom throughout the city and their pleasant fragrance permeated the air. Other showboats and tour boats crowded the river and laughter and lively conversations floated around them.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 6: Three Rivers, 1905

            The old woman did not like Iris. From an early age, Iris learned that she needed to be as quiet as a mouse when her grandmother was in the vicinity, or better yet, she should simply stay in her room, so she wouldn’t cause her grandmother a headache by appearing in front of her.

            Lady Han kept her head down and her hands busy with needlework and other household work. She set up a small altar for Guanyin in her room. She draped a small table with red velvet cloth and carefully put a small Guanyin statue, about three inches tall and made of white porcelain, on the table. The statue was a gift from her husband when he came home from one of his trips. In front of the statue, she laid a small bronze incense burner.

            And she prayed and prayed. She burned bundles upon bundles of incense. She saved and donated her allowance to the Guanyin Temple in Cloud Gate and to the Huguo Temple near Diaoyu Fortress.

            And finally, Guanyin heard her prayers and You-jun was born. All was good, and all was forgiven.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Chicago, 2017

            Women are made of water. So says a Chinese proverb. Water is so soft that it changes itself to fit whatever shape it is allowed to be. But water can also turn an angled and rough rock into a round and smooth pebble, erode the mountain that blocks its flow and capsize a ship it carries.

            If I were an ideal woman, by this notion, I would be soft yet persistent enough to turn Harriton, my angled rock into the round pebble that I could hold on to.

            I met him at an annual conference of our disciplines. We connected instantly, as if we were long-lost friends. We sat next to each other in the audience, during the panel discussions, and at the lunch table. We visited a used book store on the last day of the conference, while his wife was at a flower-arranging workshop. He kissed me between shelves filled with dusty history books, some of them hand-bound. I kissed him back.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté


This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté, released by Poetry Society of America in 2020. 

Poem for my Children Born During the Sixth Extinction

The first things kids learn in school are the seasons.
By now they already know their colors, maybe even their last names.
My children will learn hurricane and wildfire. It is summer and then it
       is winter.

They won’t know the sweet weeks of early June, honeysuckle,
wearing a sundress without sweat pooling behind a knee.
Maybe even a little cold at night.

They might not know bumblebees, not personally.
Polar bears they’ll read about like dinosaurs.
We’ll still have the old-fashioned disasters, a broken elbow, split lip.

I’ll try not to scare them, but when I see them eating unwashed grapes
I’ll tell them about pesticides. One will forget but the other won’t eat
       fruit for years.
When they ask if I believe in heaven I will lie.

When they’re little I want them to feel safe.
When they’re older I want them to believe their bones
will lie dumb in the earth forever. This is your one life.

They’ll want to know what their parents did before they were born.
We had dinner parties. Traveled a little, not enough.
Read our friends’ books. Had a dog they won’t remember

but will pretend to, and too many plants.
Water-damaged the windowsill and lost our deposit.
When our spider plant mothered into twelve stalks, we potted them,

called them the spiderettes. They were supposed to be housewarming
gifts, but we didn’t know twelve people moving. We tried
not using too much plastic, not eating too much meat. It didn’t matter.

We knew our children’s lives would get worse every year.
We thought they might like to be here anyway,
to give them oceans, ice cream, optic nerves, the flowers, and all
       their names.


Laura Cresté is the author of You Should Feel Bad, winner of a 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She holds an MFA from New York University, and is currently a 2021-2022 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Native (Nanticoke) editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief of beestung, Editor-in-Chief at ANMLY, Co-Editor at Bettering American Poetry, a Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology, and a member of Sundress Press’s Board of Directors.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté


This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from You Should Feel Bad by Laura Cresté, released by Poetry Society of America in 2020. 

Winter Again, But Worse

December 21st: Not only the longest night of the year,
but eclipsed—the darkest night in 500 years.
Of course, we all think.

But that article was from 2010. This is only the normal amount
       of darkness.
There were two incidents of terror yesterday:
an ambassador shot in an art gallery
and a crowd at a holiday market plowed down by a truck.
But it wasn’t here, so today isn’t extraordinary.

December 23rd: Dogsitting in an apartment on West 12th Street,
I take a bath and my feet don’t touch the other end of the tub:
that’s how rich they are. The dog regards me from the heated tile.

Before our walks, I wrestle red socks over his paws,
to keep the salted streets from burning him.
Mike secures the socks simply, like he’s practiced dressing children.

I want to bring cookies from the good Italian bakery
to the party, but Mike says save my money, no one there will eat them.
I know everyone is going to be thin and terrible.

December 31st: I can’t remember how fast we should eat twelve grapes
or black-eyed peas, when to shower or what to wish,
if we should bake a cake with money in it,
so I do absolutely nothing. Look
at the lunatic way champagne tries to escape a glass flute.

January 20th: Swallow the pills that keep me from sinking, take
       them with food.
We said we weren’t going to watch it. But at a pancake house in
       New Jersey

we stand at the counter to see the new president signing papers.
Is this routine? someone asks, alarmed, but we don’t know.

I repot my aloe like the world isn’t ending
and I’ll need something for all the small cuts in my life,

pour birdseed into the feeder and let it overflow onto the snow.
Let someone blameless feel lucky today, even a squirrel.


Laura Cresté is the author of You Should Feel Bad, winner of a 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She holds an MFA from New York University, and is currently a 2021-2022 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Native (Nanticoke) editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief of beestung, Editor-in-Chief at ANMLY, Co-Editor at Bettering American Poetry, a Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology, and a member of Sundress Press’s Board of Directors.