Julie the Astonishing (How She Would Return from the Dead)

The body brought out like empty wood,

silent as a dark whale in dark water.


The body a citadel in trees: getting there was

land-swimming, pushing aside loneliness,


a white man in rubber boots and all

his little dogs, the sun flashing in and out


like god’s face upon the water before

the invention of cardboard and radio


transmissions. And then the second before

she knew she was going to give it all up—


everything, all of it, until she was walking

down the road in the dark with lungs full


of the scattered, old-fashioned promises

of beginning again—the house


of her body would light up, the feet

marching as they had been instructed to do.


Julia Story is the author of Post Moxie (Sarabande Books), winner of the Ploughshares 2010 John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and a chapbook, The Trapdoor (dancing girl press). Her recent work can be read at Sixth Finch, Gulf Coast, and Diode. She is 2016 recipient of a Pushcart Prize and lives in Somerville, MA with her husband and two Dachshunds.