Three poems by Laura Ingram

Chopin’s Heart in a Jar
In loving memory of Paige Gong

You, taller than Webster and World Book combined,
you, with your hands careful as November snow
shaken off The Rocky’s broad shoulders
you have a grass stain for a heart and

I bet you could teach me
How to change the color of the cold
water crawling up the creek bank
or how to unravel your gossamer ghost
how to stitch your soft ghost into
a quilt to wrap the wreckage up with—

A shroud for Chopin’s heart, pickled fecund in a jar
Sealed in crystal, the pride of pink Poland.
Bent body buried behind the cathedral

Slouched as in life
as in supplication

I do not know if God ever gives anything back
maybe the summer twilight
shadows kneeling down in the grass
I know how to kneel down in the grass
to be so still, and solemn as Sunday School
pray for a part of you preserved in amber
your voice, soaked in afterglow
enlarged against the glass—

Your heart, scrubbed pink with soft soap in the kitchen sink
taken from its box beneath the bed
taken from your bones mixed with rabbit’s bones
you, given a backpack and a body to empty and fill
a pulse only measured in miles per hour

Your heart, tucked beneath my arms full of blackberry brambles

I give it back glad.



In the game
the pretty girl with two pigtails told me what part to play
when I got home I hid the stories I wrote
under the bed
along with honor roll ribbons
all blue as dusk

Eleven and a half
the others made me into an alien
I kept my face folded in the bottom of my backpack

Savant, Prodigy, Mutant, Weirdo

Every year on August Fifth
The Mars Rover sings Happy Birthday to itself
I orbit an arbitrary July
Books on my bedside table collecting space dust

No friends, listening to How to Save a Life on loop
in the lavender dim of my bedroom
door cracked
hair hanging half-mast over my ink-speckled spiral notebook
Aurora’s green haloed around my arrhythmia
I remain unafraid of every almost.



Psalm to Tinker Creek

Shushed between aspen and spruce,
body crouched as cursive
by the creek bed
I am awed
by the swarming of hours,
the sneakers of sophomore students
trampling asphalt flowers,
voices shrilling across the dusk
While I, jostled as birth
mud caked beneath my nail beds

misremember the deer my father hit
Driving home in the October pink
from piano class–
headlights gleaming like mardi-gras beads
the urge to snap my own ankles
cease in that same immaculate curl,
cover my broken bones with dark earth—
quiet as ancient fern’s stay kept.


Laura Ingram is a tiny girl with big glasses and bigger ideas. Her poetry and prose have been published in over seventy literary journals, among them The Cactus Heart Review, Gravel, Glass Kite Anthology and Voice of Eve. Her first collection, Junior Citizen’s Discount, was released with Desert Willow Press May 2018. Her second poetry collection, Mirabilis, is forthcoming for 2020 with Kelsay Books.

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