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.