“Scarlet Flowers Over Old Graves” © Julianne Powers


Educating My Son About Ruin As I Run Through The Haunted House of My Life

Before I run, my son, you are my son but once you’re on the page you are just a son. Now, reality is a medicinal poem. And for some, that means it is a poem entitled Killing the Secret Welfare Queens. Women must remember they are half magic and half an attack on attachment. Here, I am now, inside a poem named Highways of Articulation. The Crepe Myrtle stretches its fine funerary fingers all the way through 100 Octobers. Poetry increases my heart rate more than my ring finger wrapped in honeysuckle or my wedding dress made from my grandmother’s lilacs but in this dream I married Anne Carson & we divorced because I found out she was the splendid figment of My Father’s Alcoholism. This is the part where I fall apart inside the Polish history of my declensions. You should believe in yourself when you know how first-class bad things are.

Make your poetic line
breaks promiscuous. Take me,

Now, before you go, you need to know: I stopped the gas pump at $20/91. The year Earth will die, I think. My imperceptible father is standing above me with his hands on his hips, like he knows something. Please. That human heart resides inside the clothes of late stage capitalism. This poem is running            past my mother now which means I’m in my childhood bedroom doing my best repression. Finally. I am a radio in another room and inside a poem called Platinum Cadillac for the Dead. Inside memory, I become less and more, melded with the night’s song and ruin’s creaking core. I fall asleep inside a wall made of ivy. I vanish inside a poem titled, The Evidence of Terrible Duties. Now, I confront the Bailiff with a poem: You Have Enough Bodies to Man the Farm. The fields of corn offered me more consideration than some. I once considered the lilies and they, too, considered me. I am a chapbook on your bookshelf now. My name is Grief Machine.


Chrissy Stegman is a poet/writer from Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has been featured in various journals, most recently Rejection Letters and Gone Lawn. Her work is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine and Anti-Heroin Chic. She is the recipient of the 2022 Patricia Bibby Idyllwild Arts scholarship for poetry and placed second for the 2022 Ellen Conroy Kennedy Poetry Prize. She is a 2023 Best of the Net Nominee.

Julianne Powers is an artist, poet, and writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. Julianne studied classical guitar and herbalism, and she enjoys photography, crafts, and gardening.