The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Then Winter” by Chloe Honum

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“The Motel”

On the outskirts of a thundering town,
I checked in. My hair was swingy with rain,
my umbrella blown inside out.
The cement stairs went up and up;

had they risen one flight higher
I might have slept in a palace of violet
and silver clouds. As it was, my room
was an ugly place to miss you from,

with thin carpet and curtains
that seemed to exhale dust.
Seeing myself in the speckled mirror,
I lay flat on the bed. In my hand was a map

of the motel on which the clerk
had circled my home for the night—
among a series of doors,
a blurry number inside a drop of rain.


This selection comes from the chapbook Then Winter, available from Bull City Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for August is Donna Vorreyer.

Chloe Honum was raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Her first collection, The Tulip-Flame (2014), was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, won the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award and a Texas Institute of Letters Award, and was named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. She’s also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, and The Southern Review, and her awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. She is currently an assistant professor at Baylor University.

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks. She works as a middle school teacher in the Chicago suburbs.

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