Susan Cossette: “She Waits Behind the Drapes”




She Waits Behind the Drapes
-after Edvard Munch


Gaslit shadows from St. Cloud Street slip through the windowpane.
Unannounced, pecking at her bruised feet.

The otherness has begun.

Hallowed room bathed in crepuscular light,
Occupied only by shadow and impossible stillness. 

The nurses feed her warm chicken noodle soup,
Record vital signs.

She imagines her daughter lying beside her,
Warm breath, soft cheek.
The child remembers things she can no longer.
Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup,
Christmas mornings, drinking warm cocoa after ice skating.

The child is 1,368 miles away.
In her mind,
She is there—
A responsible mourner in training.

Prepared to face the menace,
Prepared to let the dead enter her,
A living organism of memories.



About the Author: Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up (2017), she is a two-time recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, Adelaide, Clockwise Cat, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Amethyst Review, Ariel Chart, Poetica Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.


Image Credit: Edvard Munch. “The Girl by the Window,” (1893). The Art Institute of Chicago. Public Domain


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