The night you tell me about how you would do it,
both of us hunched in porch chair, I tell you about the colors,
how they ran and blurred in the murk
that I'd heaved onto the blue
and white checks. I could see the linoleum in the places
where the pools separated, where nothing was wet.
I want to give them to you, the oranges and browns
and yellows that I had made, that my gut fought out.

Palmettos skitter over the peeling paint
on the floorboards. Two cars pass each other,
wink their headlights off, on. You flick the stub
into the broken plate already spilling over
with ashes, its eye
sleepily watching me.

In that room my heart clanged,
would not still. Arms too heavy
to lift, my hands shook when I woke, scooped
everything into piles, trembled in the hall bathroom
while I rinsed, dug under my nails. I shoved the bag
and towels in the black square of the trash chute.
They barely fit. I want you to see how I brimmed
over, how I felt too fully every thing. I drag

at my cigarette, say, are those
birds, it's too late for birds, it's
too dark. You tell me, it is never too late. There are
always birds. Some don't need the light.

Chloe Anne Campbell is an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A graduate of Columbia University and a native of Glouster, Ohio, she currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina where she is the Poetry Editor of The Greensboro Review. She is a recipient of the 2012 Academy of American Poets Prize and the Woodberry Prize. Her writing and criticism appear or are forthcoming in Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pinch, storySouth, Quarto, Columbia New Poetry, and Writers' Bloq Quarterly. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761