Ars Poetica Caught in Eternal Recurrence – ONLINE BONUS

Editors’ Choice: 2022 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest


You use the gas burner to set dreams on fire

while stirring beans. You’ve written your name on

10,000 lines yet have nothing beyond

these four walls. In between the job applications,

the taxes, the transmission on the car throwing itself

like an untamed horse, I fold laundry until the creased fabric

becomes my skin. Our 3 a.m. bodies buzz like fireflies

whose only electricity was trapped when the jar lid

twisted shut. You whisper, my life is a series of still images:

us at 20 with bloodshot eyes, hopeful and hungry, summer

sun flushing your face like embarrassment,

the first friend from college dead already.

And I assure you everyone has a God—

the woman next door waters her flowers with the words

of a forgotten prayer, the man at the bus stop makes a religion

of nicotine, gray rings are his angels. And me, I have this poem.

I write her with the same fingers that scroll through your hair

on nights when you can’t sleep. My love, know one day we’ll flip

through our photos and see a narrative, but

for now know that calculus sees infinity in loops.

Forever caught in the spiral of the coffee mug you fill

each morning, swiveling in the shape of my lips as I kiss

you good-bye and hello. Listen to the song. Watch,

the lines of time you see marching on are really the legs

of a ballerina, revolving in some endless pirouette.

Courtney DuChene (she/her) is a poet and journalist based out of Philadelphia, PA. Previous work has appeared in Furrow, The Blue Route and Glass Mountain. You can follow her on Twitter at @CourtneyDuChen2.