Aroace Girl: Plainsong Elegy by Kelly Weber

this is how I find you huddled, false boneset and                              antelopehorn clenched in your fist,
rocking against wall with your tongue                                                  locked in the white bell of your skull
ringing winter air. this is how we kneel                                                 at the broken spot, undone by downstroke
of a single sky’s unsnowing. this is how I draw                                   you into the circle of my bones, blue
morning cleaved at the marrow. you loved him                                   —say it, you loved him even if you’re not
a lover. virgin, spinster, frigid, maid, failed                                           straight. this is how we’re bound by prairie—
still gripped by osprey, windbreak, pinewood.                                    this is how we find no revelation in death—
where we come from                                                                                   girls don’t cry, they weather
—there is no way to grieve the loss of                                                    a friend so fully, the years we spent lying
in wait for the words for what we were. this is                                     how we let ourselves feel it
front, freeze coming across plains, the blades                                      in your shoulders exposed and shaking.
—let’s take the roads of winter’s throat again                                      and I can pluck an antler crowned in snow
from a no-trespassing sign, hand it to you                                            as a bouquet. you can fold a dictionary page
like a coneflower, the way you told me                                                  at your sister’s wedding, making this,
it’s the strongest weapon there is:                                                            thirst. the meadow we come home to
listening to our breaths,                                                                             finding no solace in the choice he made,
panicgrass and the wind gathered to fill                                                 this smaller circle we make together
*This poem is partly inspired by Chelsea Dingman’s “Testimony of Hinges.”
Kelly Weber is the author of the chapbook The Dodo Heart Museum: A Fabulist Curiosity Cabinet (Dancing Girl Press, 2020), and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Cream City Review, Permafrost, Ruminate, Timber, Fourth River, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Frontier Chapbook Prize and Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize and has been longlisted for the [PANK] Book Contest, and her work has received Pushcart nominations. She has received professional support from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference workshop and served as an editorial assistant for Colorado Review. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University. More of her work can be found at