The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Amy Ash’s “The Open Mouth of the Vase”

Amy Ash author photo for Cider Press Review

For Jim

I always thought I’d see you naked
for the first time after a party, perhaps.
Gently drunk, I would awaken,
the hairs on your chest moving
under my breath. But it didn’t happen

that way. I got there just after
the ambulance arrived. It was not my lips
that touched your open mouth
in that cold tile bathroom. Not my hands
that cupped your swollen face,
dragged you out like a child shaken
from a dream or a fetus
aborted from the womb.

You hung there, in their arms,
in the cold, steely reflection
of the mirror, frozen.     Like the lake
where my father fished
in winter. Pale, translucent blue,
the fish sputtered and choked, the hook
in his mouth tearing him.

I cried put him back in, put him back in
because I could not understand
why my father was always pulling things
out of the water
just to watch them die.


This selection comes from Amy Ash’s collection The Open Mouth of the Vase, available from Cider Press Review. Purchase your copy here!

Amy Ash has an MFA from New Mexico State University and PhD in literature and creative
writing from the University of Kansas. A Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of
American Poets prize, her work has been published in various journals and anthologies,
including Mid-American Review, Harpur Palate, Salamander, Prick of the Spindle, 100 Word
Story, and The Best of Kore Press 2012. The Open Mouth of the Vase, selected by Charles
Harper Webb for the Cider Press Review Book Award, is her first full-length collection. She
teaches creative writing and literature at Indiana State University.

Melanie Jordan‘s chapbook, Ghost Season, is available from Ropewalk Press; her work has been published in the Iowa Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Southeast, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Southeast Review, and others. She studied Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before receiving her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her doctorate from the University of Houston. She currently teaches Creative Writing, literature, and composition at the University of West Georgia. Her debut collection, Hallelujah for the Ghosties, was published by Sundress in 2015.

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