I picked this carpet, this beige with flecks of umber, which now slides
Beneath my fingerprints as if slicked with oil, refusing to let me leave my mark.
Peruvian hair is strong, we are bred for fields and mountains, for secret dwellings
Where we have become a part of rock. Daddy cannot open the door with his left hand,
Twisted body holding my extra weight, my struggle. But he can’t let go.
As if it will be worse if he can’t finish what he started, what she intended.

Jennifer van Alstyne has been published in the Eunoia Review, Midwest Literary Magazine, The Monmouth Review, and Poetry Quarterly. Her chapbook, Scansioned Music: A Glenn Gould Collection, is being published by Crossroads in 2013 for which she was the winner of the Jane Freed Grant.

This poem is from a collection I've been working on about my childhood, Croatoan, in particular my haunting relationship with my mother. I wrote this piece after a yoga session while I listened to Wolfgang Garter. I started thinking of electonica as contemporary fugue, and how my father played Bach for three weeks after this incident, as if no other voice could calm his guilt.




Copyright 2009