From the Room of an Unknown Girl || B. Fulton Jennes

We were told to take anything we wanted
from the chattel left behind by a disappeared
family who had rented my aunt’s farmhouse.

They left in a hurry, unable to pay the month’s due,
unwilling to beg my hard-nosed aunt for more time.
The man had killed a son who stepped in to fetch

a can blasted by buckshot during a drunken round
of target shooting; the wife had no teeth and stank.
Good riddance was Aunt Flo’s assessment,

but I felt sorry for them—especially the girl whose
tiny bedroom reeked of wet plaster, water-yellowed
wallpaper flayed like skin. A tattered quilt of calico

yo-yos promised pitiable warmth to the room.
There, atop a listing chest of drawers, I saw my prize:
a cheap snow globe filled with water and wonder.

Inside, two skaters: a top-hatted man in long,
buttoned coat and a woman, clad in fur-trimmed
finery: coat, bonnet, muff. Shaken, the globe

filled with a whirling squall from which the skaters
slowly emerged, the man’s sure hand still guiding
his companion through a circle of frosted eternity.

Raised in a house of clamor and clout, I longed
to glide in that world of gentle hands and hushed lips,
to meet the absent girl there in silence,

away from the fury that shook both our worlds.
I took the snow globe with me and coddled its fragility
for years, until I forgot how.

The Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, Connecticut, B. Fulton Jennes serves as poet-in-residence for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her poems have or will appear in The Comstock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Night Heron Barks, Tar River Poetry, Stone Canoe, The Vassar Review, Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Connecticut River Journal, ArtAscent, Naugatuck River Journal, Frost Meadow Review, and other publications. Her poem “Other Hungers” was recently awarded the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry by Stone Canoe, and another poem “Lessons of a Cruel Tide” was the first place winner in the Rhyming Poetry category of the 89th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Jennes’s chapbook, Blinded Birds, will be published by Finishing Line Press in the spring of 2022.

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