topless in the grey light of the master bath, accompanied
by store-bought seashells and soaps, a painting
of dune grass, remember how we planned to ablute
the suture, running straight down your chest? Clavicle
to abdomen. Remember your breasts? Unrecognizable
things on your body: mottled like stormy skies, tortoise
shells. I never told you how sorry I felt for them, how sad
they looked. I never told you how much I hated
that surgeon and his clean, clean hands that held your heart
(even though he saved you) and shook my father’s
work-worn hands. I never told you how, as you
recovered, I would lay in bed with my hand over my heart
as though there were secrets in its beats: Listen: everyone tries
to slip through someone’s hands. Hold tight. Beat.
Ashley Kirkland teaches English in Ohio where she lives with her husband and sons. This is her debut poetry publication.
Beverly Rose Joyce lives in Brecksville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, with her husband, Carl, and their two daughters, Mallory and Samantha, along with their two dogs, Shadow and Reggie. She holds a BA in English from Baldwin-Wallace University and a MA in English from Cleveland State University, and she was a public high school English teacher for sixteen years before taking a voluntary respite from the profession to spend more time with her children and to better focus on her writing and photography. Her poetry has been published in Plants & Poetry Journal and in the anthology titled Inner Eye, and her photography is forthcoming in The Closed Eye Open.