Issue 16.5 – Poetry

Issue 16 - Poetry (11)

“As I was lying there with my eyes closed,

just after I’d imagined what it might be like

if in fact I never got up again, I thought of you.

I opened my eyes then and got right up

and went back to being happy again.

I’m grateful to you, you see. I wanted to tell you.”

-For Tess by Raymond Carver





They mutter behind the door—

little girl and therapist,

crescendos and dips.

I was behind the white door once,

my life spilling all around

the leather furniture and

polyester Persian rug.

My veins opening to a

stranger because no

one else knew

how to keep me alive or

how to point me back

to joy. Stumbling

and falling, I found my way,

casting in mountain streams

and hiking the elk’s path,

pocketing pebbles

to remember those places.

Now she is behind

the door,

pockets empty.





She wants to kill herself.

Ten years old and she’s

had enough.

New age music chimes

and recorded water

droplets beat

my ears, drowning

the conversation behind

the closed white door.

I wish we were

fishing. I can’t help

but think if I could

get her into the mountains

in Idaho, pole in hand,

the lullaby of a stream,

the shush of arctic breezes

through yellow pines,

carrying a bluebird’s aria

would be enough to heal her,

to show her there is

happiness that clings to trees—

it’s waiting for us

if we can get there.

We could lie on the grass together,

in the triangle patch of sun

between mountain peaks,

eat chocolate licorice

and imagine

heaven together,

imagine death,

then be happy that

we are still alive,

still together

for now.

unnamed (10)

Gwen Holt resides in North Carolina and has an MFA in Young Adult literature from Converse College where she serves as the Managing Fiction Editor at South 85 Journal. She is the winner of the James Applewhite Poetry prize honorable mention and Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction prize. She will publish her fourth YA novel, Imani Unraveled, with Owl Hollow Press in February 2019. Her essays, poetry, and short stories can be found in the Remington Review, Southeast Review, North Carolina Literary Review, and several anthologies.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Carol Ann says:

    What a pleasure it was to read words woven so beautifully and purposefully. Thank you.


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