The Ill-Timed Elopement
The floral dress, ruffled and sheer, lies crushed in the cupboard under the weight of schoolbooks, laced footballs, and a catcher’s mask her new husband hides from his mother. She threw books out the windows and burned them in a bonfire when disease reached her brain. Now she dies in the next room, wan and hollow in her nightgown, calling out to the young wife for compresses and water, water, more water, saying I can’t die before I see my grandchildren and remember to save the scraps for the dog as she lingers in that peculiar odor of illness past blueberry season to peppers to pumpkins to the last dried husks and leaves that her son clears out with the weeds. The mother can no longer make it to the window–now closed against the dangerous air–to watch, but whispers to the wife for a cool hand on her forehead–or some garbled craziness to which the daughter-in-law is too kind to react and only wants to rescue her elopement dress and do it again in a few months when this is over.
This and other poems can be found in Kin Types, available now for preorder at the publisher’s site. Originally published by museum of americana, Fall 2015.
An excerpt from Doll God:
Birds have the number sense
to know when an egg in a nest
of five goes missing.
If you have four chairs in the kitchen
you don’t have to count
one has been taken away,
to realize one car
cools in the double garage.
Every day the world subtracts from itself and nothing
Not these pebbles from our walks along the lakeshore:
pebbles you collected
in this jar which
remains half full,
though for some reason I think of it as overflowing.
This and other poems can be found in Doll God, available now on Amazon. Originally published by A Clean, Well-Lighted Place, March 2013.
Samples of Luanne’s writing:
Poetry in Barnstorm Journal: Portrait (also found in Doll God)
Creative Nonfiction in Toasted Cheese: And So It Goes (also found in Kin Types)
Memoir in River Teeth: Patterns
Fiction in Crack the Spine: Small Solace
Article on craft in The Review Review: From Creation to Publication: Finding the Submission Strategy That Works for You