I am now about to make the great adventure

One Sunday afternoon, I lay out my histories
and construct comfort from trinkets, only
some of which will remember me.

My childhood coastal, I select
a soft blue dress to ghost me.

I’ve prayed a golden pattern into the coverlet:
lover man oh where can you be

I imagine a tornado sweeping over me,
spinning implements across my skin.
Harrow and hand cradle fling
the grime of plains and palm trees.

It is all over my body.

I’ve always preferred a city’s glamour,
something safer than a homestead.

Sometimes I raise orphans to catch
black stars, greyed palms. Sometimes I am

Soon I will perch, piece
together shopworn scenes,
share my catalogue of secrets
with the Hollywood sign, and encourage
the unexpectedly timid jumpers.

Yet—I can’t even imagine my arrival, the vehicle
that will drop me into the next world (not my make-up,
nor my maker). No place for the burden
of decades, names, faces—the smear of newsprint
sealed into my skin’s pinkest layer.

Tethered now only to speculation, I will recline
into the blindness of it, hover inside
the impending marvel—smoothing my lines
until they fade, and I appear.

*The title of this poem and some language is borrowed from the suicide note of Clara Blandick, who played Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz.


Colleen Coyne is the author of the poetry chapbook Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press, forthcoming), and her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, Handsome Journal, alice blue review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Poetry & Popular Culture, and elsewhere. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Willapa Bay AiR. Currently living outside of Boston, Colleen teaches first-year writing at Framingham State University and works as a freelance writer and editor.