by Julie Elise Landry
I grew up in another girl’s bedroom,
stomaching antacid walls and crawling
caustic carpet. I remember my parents
after the sale: A girl lived here before you!
She left before but kept the room,
her colors and her carpet. (Cleaned twice
in eight years, never painted, never dyed.)
I wondered—if she picked her own colors,
the hooker’s green and baker-miller pink.
Where she went, why she left,
and what she thought
Did she nest in her shelves? Did she poke
at her shutters? Did they ban her from closing
her door? Did she wish for some squirrels
to appear in her window, off-center
and high overhead? Did she drum
to cassettes in the dark?
Thinking now of everything, the crumbs
in the carpet, the sheets never washed,
the dust, and my desk, too buried to use—
I care nothing for the girl who lay before me.
I only want to shower her off.
Julie Elise Landry’s poetry has appeared in The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle and is forthcoming in Ellipsis. She holds an MA in English from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and she is pursuing an MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans. In 2023, she received an Honorable Mention for UNO’s Vassar Miller Poetry Award.