The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Damage Done by Susana H. Case


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from The Damage Done by Susana H. Case, released by Broadstone Books in 2022. 

Woman Identified

A Tootsie Roll with arms,
the detective calls Janey
now that they’ve ID’d her.
She’s skinny with a single name,
like Twiggy; a Vogue spread

and being dead warrant
consideration by the tabloids,
a close-up of her face that’s not
a death mask, a point of view
that tsk tsks, Here’s a sorry chick

who couldn’t hack the good life.
She’s pretty, angles like knife blades,
torso straight, like a boy’s. In the largest
image, Janey looks untroubled
and is running in a bold-patterned

dress past a bridge, debris in soft
focus piled off by the side.
The detective laughs about it later
with his buddies, a strange photo
to sell clothes you can’t even

clearly see. Surrounded by rubble.
Painted-on eyelashes—as if
she’s a child’s doll—
she looks as if she could blow
away. Part of her did.

Susana H. Case has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022, which won her a third Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Her books have previously also won an IPPY, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite award, and she was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the International Book Awards. The first of her five chapbooks, The Scottish Café, Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. She co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press, 2022. Case worked several decades as a university professor and program coordinator in New York City and currently is a co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and a co-host of the literary series W-E: Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Damage Done by Susana H. Case


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from The Damage Done by Susana H. Case, released by Broadstone Books in 2022. 

Content warning for gun violence

Flashback: Cross Hairs on the Back of Your Neck

A postcard drawing of the cross hairs
of a rifle, Traitors Beware
sits in your mailbox. The old man

at the newspaper kiosk on the corner
has a pistol with silencer under
his woolen coat. The fountain pen

in the pocket protector of the life insurance
salesman who tries to talk you into a policy
is a cyanide gas gun. Your whitecoated

pharmacist is working slow but sure
behind that counter, punching powder
to pack arsenic into pill capsules.

He owns a target rifle that can blast
a sparrow mid-song at two hundred yards.
Your mechanic stays up late

to study booby traps, the metal piled
on his table. Minutemen know more
about you, Janey, than your husband does.

Susana H. Case has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022, which won her a third Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Her books have previously also won an IPPY, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite award, and she was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the International Book Awards. The first of her five chapbooks, The Scottish Café, Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. She co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press, 2022. Case worked several decades as a university professor and program coordinator in New York City and currently is a co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and a co-host of the literary series W-E: Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Damage Done by Susana H. Case


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Solstice Black, is from The Damage Done by Susana H. Case, released by Broadstone Books in 2022. 

Content warning for domestic violence/abuse and disordered eating

Flashback: Bedroom

Blame the walls and doors—they entice
the husband to punch them—
five stitches on his right wrist

just last summer. Inanimate objects
only—he says he is a man of peace.
His familiar rage—it doesn’t cease

with three days in a row of humid heat,
ninety degrees, and how come Janey
wasn’t in her room in Taos after the shoot?

Like an asymptote, she’s gotten so close
to perfection, can taste how close,
like she tastes the black coffee, water,

sugarless gum, all she’s had for days,
so tired of being shown off
like an expensive watch.

Her precision surgery on her food—
he critiques her microscopic cutting.
And how did her ass blow up overnight?

The mirror is relentless,
the water—she drinks too much of it,
needs to do more calisthenics, the weight

on the scale’s unchanging. The food
she pretends to eat—sometimes she has
to put a small bit in her mouth, exercise

the gain away, or purge, but anything
is better than throwing up again.
The rules for when he can look at her—only

when dressed or when the lights
are out—darkness and cover. Her ribs—
where downy, pale white fur has begun

to grow, though she is freezing all the time.
The room of ecru walls—the color
picked from over thirty variations of beige—

for weeks, samples were shuffled and placed
on their bed while she tried to decide.
His only comment: that nothing

was getting laid on their bed lately except
the paint swatches. Blame the husband—
he likes them thin and young.

Susana H. Case has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022, which won her a third Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Her books have previously also won an IPPY, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite award, and she was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the International Book Awards. The first of her five chapbooks, The Scottish Café, Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. She co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press, 2022. Case worked several decades as a university professor and program coordinator in New York City and currently is a co-editor of Slapering Hol Press and a co-host of the literary series W-E: Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond.

Solstice Black (she/they) is a queer poet and novelist living in the Pacific Northwest. They are currently undertaking a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ChautauquaThe Fantastic Other, and A Forest of Words, among others. They hope to pursue an MFA in creative writing and a BFA in visual art in the next few years. Her cat is both her greatest joy and torment.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

Sweatpants Theology

Lost reasons to dress up.
Quarantine a voodoo temple.
Crows fly over cities, towns, centuries.
Silhouettes loom across the chessboard
and words can’t seem to go any further.
Mystery plays perform in cardboard theaters
this time with masks and hospital ships.
Homebody sweatpants have a mind
of their own—one leg then the other, slogan
t-shirts with sweat stains, new state
of merch. Stumble through reverberating chatter,
surplus of molecular metaphor in virus,
publicized publicized connotation.
Pivot on how little can be enough
to take the long view.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

An Almost Ghazal For My Mother’s Hats

A memory fermata from my brother’s musty
basement—your weathered cache of dormant hats.

Who wants to be a milliner? It’s me who yearns to
adorn you again with your signature crown panache.

Not Carmen Miranda’s tutti frutti tower or the
mystique that Audrey Hepburn’s brims begat

but your astute and effortless pillbox, satin
cream to match your linen dress, jeweled flats.

Not in Lady Gaga’s floppy blushpink Boho
or in Schiaparelli’s high-heeled shoe-hat

but your quail-feathered bowler with emerald ribbon—
pure hattitude for luncheons, their green-eyed chitchat.

When you stepped out you were a standout, behold
that black-velvet, pearl-beaded, mink-trimmed half-hat,

your summer straw with gingham flowers, a tufty
clown bouncing on the headband of your circus hat.

Tonight I salvage from sagging round boxes
your weathered cache of trademark hats, still

beguiled by scarlet lips, veiled fascinators, this daughter’s
finishing school for accessorizing—the play in being all that.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

Well Shod

They gentrify the old West with python & ostrich
or click the homesick heels of ruby, the lazy
slip-on slip-off of loafers, inventions of slogans pithy—
moon shoes: mini trampolines for your tootsies. My father’s
army of polished Florsheim nines line up in his closet
in his closet like an obedient narrow-sized parade, my new
daisy Kmart sandals for flirty cheese fries on opening day
of the fair, splotches of chocolate milkshake assault
my saddled oxfords which in turn deliver a bruise
(the size of a coconut) on the mean bitch shin of schoolmate,
negative heels only make campus hills steeper but college
boyfriend’s blue suede shoes make me fall in love for a lifetime,
I ain’t no dominatrix but I know how to work thigh-high boots
intimate as skin, then tibial tendon surgery cause my stilettos
to mutiny. Arrogance of jeweled soles that patronize others
to manipulate their bootstraps, how to shoe the world, dominance
of Air Jordans dangle from a power line, at the sit-in we throw
frenzied sneakers at the mayor, too many screenshots of her
Jimmy Choos but not worse than those evil stepsisters cutting
off their heel or toes. Gibran believed that the earth is always
jazzed whenever it feels our soles bare but we also stand tall
in shoes that resemble buildings, armadillos, or handcrafted
in the wee hours by elves. Wear dreams on your feet my
mother cooed, dew-sprinkled sprigs of rosemary and thyme
tucked overnight under tongues.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

Wrists

We like to adorn them with
columns of rhyming bangles
to tease out tender murmurs
of pulse. With confident cufflinks,
clockwork of too many complications,
ruffles for uselessness, astrological
tattooes—all charms for our most narrow
but not enough to forgive deep
histories of handcuff & shackle.
Delicate body part for
lacey bridal gloves,
archer’s sheath,
baby’s protector
from droplets too hot.
Deep histories
of handcuff & shackles,
never enough to forgive—
charms of our most narrow
those wrists rhyming
with bracelets to tease out
murmurs of pulse.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Head to Toe of It by Rikki Santer, released by Kelsay Books in 2021. 

At the Fashion Museum

The covenant we cast since
days of fig leaf & loincloth,
thrill of what’s under the zipper,
silk stripped against an ear of corn.
Enter this frozen farm of mannequins
with phantom antlers & rooster
combs. Gallery corrals where craft
is high, fruits hang low & bucketfuls
of hue know how to color an empire.

Defying brittle sepia tones of
history with spinning jenny like
a noble dinosaur with its offspring—
wool frocks, cotton petticoats,
gingham coy & lace demure, teasing
tulle, taffeta, cashmere, tooth of
hound, & buds of lavender pregnant
with the grammar of ornament.

Fashion, the great sartorial pollinator—
nipple windows, suits that speak
louder than words, hands swallowed
by sleeves, youthquake of ready-to-wear.
To reimagine pleats or gender binary,
orange as new pink, snow globes
of counter-culture couture.

Temple where we worship
the language of fabric & dismiss
ghosts of expiration dates.

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana and Ohio Poet book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series, was recently published by Luchador Press. She is also a member of the teaching artist roster of the Ohio Arts Council, a vice president of the Ohio Poetry Association, and a member of the poetry troupe Concrete Wink.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young, released by Alan Squire Publishing in 2020. 

Phantom Limb

First the doctors peel my flesh,
expose the bone, saw it smooth.
Working in layers, they mold muscle,
snug up tissue to cushion the stump,
snip skin in overlapping flaps
exactly the way you’d wrap a present,
pleating sudden ridges and angles.
And then, prosthesis: liner, socket,
foot. I’ll walk, all right: you’ll notice
nothing amiss, unless you’re watching
in the evening hour, when shapes
branch off in doorways, two by two—
you’ll see me stumble on the side
he always took, while in the houses
doors bang shut, lights flick on.


Katherine E. Young is the author of two full-length poetry collectionsWoman Drinking AbsintheDay of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist), and two chapbooks. She is the editor of Written in Arlington and curator of Spoken in Arlington. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. She is the translator of Look at Him by Anna Starobinets, Farewell, Aylis and Stone Dreams by Azerbaijani political prisoner Akram Aylisli, and two poetry collections by Inna Kabysh. From 2016-2018, she served as the inaugural poet laureate for Arlington, Virginia.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young, released by Alan Squire Publishing in 2020. 

African Violets

February ushers in winter’s rain,
teasing the boxwoods, the trellis roses
nodding in the yard. A lonely crocus
raises its head, unable to refrain
despite lingering snow, silvery scrim
mantling the sun. Houseplants sink into
melancholy, recline swooning on window
frames cracked and swollen from the heat within.
Early mornings I tend them, sprinkle cool
water on their petals; their parched, pale leaves
nuzzle against my hand. Like young children,
like new lovers, they’ve no better sense
than to seek my caress: they must believe
in old wives’ tales, promise of renewal.


Katherine E. Young is the author of two full-length poetry collectionsWoman Drinking AbsintheDay of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist), and two chapbooks. She is the editor of Written in Arlington and curator of Spoken in Arlington. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. She is the translator of Look at Him by Anna Starobinets, Farewell, Aylis and Stone Dreams by Azerbaijani political prisoner Akram Aylisli, and two poetry collections by Inna Kabysh. From 2016-2018, she served as the inaugural poet laureate for Arlington, Virginia.

Genevieve Pfeiffer is a poet, writer, and scholar. Their masters project at New York University explores ideological shifts around birth control & abortion and their intersections with nature & culture. Read more about this project at the link below.