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


William Taylor Jr: “A Seventeen Dollar Glass of Wine and the Early Works of Matisse”



A Seventeen Dollar Glass of Wine and the Early Works of Matisse 

I’m drinking overpriced wine 
in the cafe at the Museum 
of Modern Art on a Tuesday 

Summer is done and the tourists 
have gone back to whatever sad places
spawned them.

Everything is quiet and civilized
as I sip the Chardonnay of the day
while reading about Baudelaire
and his miserable genius.

The women are pretty
in skirts and dresses
whispering to each other
as they gaze upon some lesser 
work of Edvard Munch.

Everything is clean, white and pristine
while outside are all the things 
the headlines drone on about:

cancer and freeway crashes 
things on fire and the inevitable 
collapse of every decent 
thing we’ve ever known.

But it all seems so far away 
and meaningless when 
compared to what Matisse 
achieved in his later years

and it feels pointless 
to dwell upon such dreariness
when confronted with Warhol’s 
comic book yellows 
and reds.

Here the mistakes of our past
have been captured and neutralized
handsomely framed and placed 
upon the walls with gilded 
plaques of explanation

so that we might see
and soberly contemplate
for a moment or two
before moving on 
to something else 

and then back downstairs 
for another glass of wine 
before everything


About the Author: William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and The Chiron Review. He is a five time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. Pretty Words to Say, a new collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Six Ft. Swells Press.


Image Credit: “Henri Matisse Working on a Paper Cut Out” Creative Commons Public Domain