Kelle Groom


The first time I couldn’t save myself in that clamor seized by the hair
Even now the evening panic ensues
below my heart just there in the center of my body      anthem of no
to back of the head clipped close      a dropping off
to reach for      second-story window
overstepping a barrier
         I think of the other animals
to lie down      our taxonomies
What you’ve always known:
this dress      this hair      Set me on fire   Luanne said nothing sentimental
Patty purple-streaked is on the phone with Stop & Shop ordering rose petals
for the bed      It’s easy they just pluck the roses fifteen dollars or
you can do it yourself            I lived in an old house down the shore sticky
with hundreds of red ants mating in the ceilings      dry wings falling
in my hair      Is that darkness just gap      hiatus the long summer of reruns
something come apart            Or me come apart      I fear the mouth
opened wide      I wasn’t dead            I did come back            Air in
my lungs            Flashlight in that premarital blackness   & the way to the right
felt like everything I’d ever wanted but no gangling body whatever
I’d be without the temple locks curled      blood loud as an ocean.

Kelle GroomKelle Groom is the author of four poetry collections: Underwater City (University Press of Florida), Luckily, Five Kingdoms, and the forthcoming, Spill (Anhinga Press). Her memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (Simon & Schuster) is a Barnes & Noble Discover selection, New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and a Library Journal Best Memoir. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, New York Times, Ploughshares, and Poetry. A 2014 NEA Fellow, Groom is MFA faculty at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, and Director of the Summer Workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

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