Amanda Silberling is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, PANK Blog,
The Louisville Review, and The Los Angeles Times, among others. She is the Blog Editor
for The Adroit Journal and writes concert reviews for Rock On Philly.

After the Hospital Visit

This house is too small for ghosts, the kind
that remember phone calls from last summer.

Chloe hanging to the phone line by a thread,
chewing my food for me. Forgetting to swallow.

I move in the summer, packing ghosts into boxes
of china, sealing them with scotch tape. A phone

ringing in her ear. Chloe becoming transparent,
a deleted text message, a distant cousin sleeping

on an air mattress. Sleeping
with our mouths open, never swallowing.

Elegy for Boots

Tomorrow, they euthanize the cats.
Boots died when he jumped out of my
bathroom window, and now every time
I brush my teeth, I remember how
he scratched my mosquito bites until
my skin looked like the 90s, sunsets
slipping down nail-scraped arms,
teethed wires under computer desks where
he used to swallow the sound dial-up makes.
We made the living room carpet our Sahara,
empty and vacant, a Motel 6 with hornet nests
under toilet lids—so he taught me all he knew
about How to Survive, but left out the things
like murder in suburban town home streets.

Pepper Pot Soup

Mother finds a recipe for pepper pot soup,
turns the stove on high, snaps noodles into boiling
water until they soften like vows in divorce court.
When the AC goes out, I roll my sleeves, sweat,
don't tell mother, hope she thinks Florida summers
end in the bridge of October.

We move to the house with the broken blinds,
floor tiles cracked from hurricane season.
Mother and I eat pepper pot soup in the dark,
fans blowing recipes across our counter. Chicken broth
tastes like foreclosure, generations of absent fathers
hollering inside a grandfather clock on the hour.
I swallow too fast, burn my tongue.

Mother says the handymen
look like my father, accents Russian,
reddened with memory.
I have to remind her we're German.

Anne Boleyn on Dying

These years, tenderness will miscarry:
England slips, stillbirthed. You find
Henry in the crease of your elbow, combing
his hair with the spaces in your teeth,
tucking your Catholic parts between
oceans of stomach: seasickness,
falling overboard. England,
listen to the pope undress for you, searching
for sobriety under pillow shams and mattress pads.
You may sleep tonight, dream of a wedding,
blindfolded, head free of body, drowning.

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