“Inventory” by Claire Van Winkle

one yard of faded pale hair,
braided; (tied off with a bow—
stored inside the next-to-bottom drawer
of the desk near the window
with no view)

one abused ballet shoe
soaked through with years
itself in ribbons)

Photo by David Bartus from Pexels.com

one tiny closet packed tight
with dark corners

one broken record
that whispers
I will…

one small stuffed dog—
all his fur loved off—
with two scratched plastic eyes and
one cracked rattle tail

six clouds sketched
on one pale blue ceiling

one bird’s nest made of brambles of brown
plucked with a rat tail from a chipped
wooden brush

twenty-eight arthritic hairpins—
bent with wear—
to the places where the floorboards sigh

one long body,
slightly imperfect,
gently used…

Claire Van Winkle received her BA at New York University and completed her MFA at Queens College, where she studied poetry writing and literary translation. She is the founder of the Rockaway Writers’ Workshop and also runs writing therapy groups at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Claire has received several honors including the inaugural Queens College Foundation Scholarship for Poetry Writing and Literary Translation, an American Literary Translators Association Travel Fellowship, an American Academy of Poets Award, the Mary M. Fay Poetry Award, and the Lenore Lipstein Memorial Prize for Formal Poetry. Her work appears in the American Journal of Poetry, Sixfold, 3 Percent, and anthologies by Rogue Scholars and Black Lawrence Press. She currently teaches grammar, composition, creative writing, and literature at CUNY and SUNY.