Fall 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 4 Poetry |

Elegy in Which I Refuse to Turn Away

Hospice recommended we starve him. I did. I can sleep all day. Things happen and my father dies. I go to Italy. I fall apart under Tintoretto, those smudgy crucifixions. In another life, I am promised to a lawyer. I have a wedding chest heavy with linens. When I wake in a small boat filling with ocean, my father sews the white dress into my skin. I am given medicine to help me sleep. People are hired to stand around my bed and hold my wrists down while I writhe. This isn't what I imagined, but isn't necessarily worse. The wedding plate shatters, my once beloved reads me my Miranda rights. Owls keep crashing into the bedroom window midday, and I'm not allowed to touch them, am made to kneel at a safe distance. My father always makes me turn away while he snaps the owl's neck. He is saving it. I know this. From something worse. But I have the right to see what happens to their yellow eyes. Do they stay open. Does

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Corey Van Landingham
Corey Van Landingham is the author of Antidote. A recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, she is currently a Book Review Editor for Kenyon Review.

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