I mouth your barbed wire melodies
by candlelight, believing I’m smoke
in the rafters of the bars where you
crowed. I lean into the long notes,
the ones that bend like begging, full
of thirst. I do not wonder what you
are so thirsty for. And June, the way
you grip the notes as if with fists, as if
that swallerin’ place might never come—
that breathlessness, that same caged
effort rings out nightly in the reams
of conifer behind my home. I wonder
some at your final performance. Pretty
ghost, you left us hungry. You went out
with eyes like thunderclaps, still smiling,
only halfway humble, nodding at tearful
rumble, your voice understated, crystal-
line and fine, an heirloom ribbon pulled
loose for a final time. Dear June, I want
you always young and wirey, wrapped
around your autoharp. Sun-tanned
and river-ruddy, happy, flashing teeth.
Chelsea Whitton holds an MFA in poetry from The New School. Her poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, Bateau, Sixth Finch, Ilk, and the Best American Poetry Blog. Born and raised in North Carolina, she now lives and works in New York.
Carol Roque is a self taught artist who is determined to make a career out of oil painting. As an only child until age 9, she spent time entertaining herself drawing. What started out as a way to pass time, over the years became a pursuit in trying to capture the subtle emotions behind her characters. As a self proclaimed introvert, oil painting is a way of expressing her own emotions, as well as feelings and ideas she finds intriguing.