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Charlottenburg - Stephanie McConnell

We hid in one room, pouring white wine

and hating our neighbors. I could hold

a soldier’s stare like a bouquet, and held bouquets

like books. I turned the radio off and you turned,

told me no, let it play. You smoked incessantly,

taught me how to smack a pack on my palm, that

little trick with the match. It’s your fault

I wake up some nights, even tonight, with the taste

in my mouth, remembering all that smoke

and ash, and feeling the feeling

of something missing.

When you asked, I said probably I would

have kept buying my bread and cheese, worn

nylons, read fashion magazines. And not have

known, or known and not have cared, or cared

but not have been willing. Though would want

to have thrown leaflets from balconies

of universities. Obviously. You dreamt me

hanged and how death ripped my face

like a map. From your pillow you said

you longed to give up on words entirely.

We could not hide forever, or for long. If

it had been back then, you would have spent

many days growing a beard and sweating,

sweeping floors and bleeding. And I would have

spent my days growing older and swearing,

sweeping floors and bleeding. Which we did

anyhow. You left the country. I’ve gone and

changed my name. It felt like forever but

when the lease was up, we were over.


Stephanie McConnell is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Worcester Review, The Paterson Literary Review, the Under Review, The Ponder Review, River Heron Review, BarBar, The Dewdrop, and Hare's Paw Literary Journal. She now lives in New England, but still only writes about Pennsylvania.


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