Chi Town | Holly Painter

Holly Photo

The shadow of a head, penumbral with knotted curls
rises again and again against the back of the driver’s seat
a childhood of inverted moons fading beneath the bulbs
that stretch a canopy over westbound I-94

I am choked, prostrate, a crumpled marionette
below the sightlines of her mother’s rearview mirror
I throb mechanically for the open-mouthed sleeper in front
and plead with the thunderclap God of Mt. Sinai:

Let me not love her

In Chicago, a college tour of icicles, ivy twined towers’ wintry chandeliers
our shared double bed, hummingbirds penned between quilt squares
She swallows up slumber mid-sentence, breathes whole notes
I wait an hour then slip an arm around her waist, absolved by sleep

But I am not sleeping

I am unfolding a map in my head, uncreasing it on the tray table
Wind up a top with a spiral on its crown, a post-hypnotic spin
Where will it fall on this world with all its wetnesses in blue?

To view the sequel, click here.

Holly Painter is an MFA graduate of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her poetry has been published in literary journals in the US, New Zealand and Australia. Holly lives with her partner in Singapore, where she writes love poems on behalf of besotted people around the world at


One comment

  1. Pingback: Flyover Country ReviewHolly Painter - Flyover Country Review

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