This story is paired with “First Epoch: The Story Continued by Marian Halcombe” from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free.
The way she danced—like bells swaying
atop a tower,
on a twisted lilt of night sky,
could hunger any man.
Her sozzled sighs
rhymed with the cadence of
the evening, and she spent
most of her mornings,
with a hangover, in the attic,
tearing through photographs
that reminded her of when
she was a kid, lively and dynamic,
stucco red cheeks glowing
in the full lush of summer.
She used to stare at these pictures,
in the homespun air of Beacon Street
her radiant visions of
going to Julliard
diminishing, as the rain
rattled against the roof
in a stony silence.
The bottlenecked traffic
slowly made its way to work.
She found her way to the kitchen
to cook breakfast,
iron her tights
watch the morning news.
Love Poem, 4:00
In the oval of this hour
I find myself in a tunnel of throat
clinging to your body like Saran wrap.
You turn me into a mind of forget.
I have to call back to life the objects
that used to be—
the porcelain kettle on the stove
that frightens Mr. Paws,
the fine china my mother found
at the flea market, while I was busy
rampaging the record man for
a vintage Jerry Lee Lewis
for a nickel and some pocket lint
because I thought “The Killer’s” jawline
You carry me to the beach
with your strong arms,
a sway about your body.
This is the first tropical storm
of the summer
and the steady rain tastes like salt.
The remainder of the day
won’t be filled this way.
I’ll have to occupy my thoughts
to make up for the sense
of longing I will have
for your soft breath against my face
the steadiness of your arms
and the way you lay me
on the sand
so I feel as if I’m floating.
Your deep crystal face is cut
out of the January landscape.
You are the backdrop of winter.
I peer out the window, the trees
line the yard’s frame like grizzled gnomes
with great beards,
they are whispers of white
among the fallen snow,
or the swan neck of the great planes
as the mountains huddle over
our bodies, our protection.
Sarah Brashear teaches writing and coaches tennis at Lebanon Valley College. She also teaches at Harrisburg Area Community College. Her first book of poetry will be published later this year by Cawing Crow Press. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University.