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The Shelter

I set all of the hedges on fire myself. We’ve had to hide in the mushroom cellar, it smells like hot
paint sometimes, the smell has a weight, a bread weight, a loaf. The trees are mostly quiet now.
We have retreated. In the cellar my husband rests his gun on his lap, he says forget about the hedges,
as they are burning the smoke forms a shelter. There may be a way in we can’t see. Out there, gaining,
the squares of marble, the wedge of iron, the violet cloth draping from the wires and the faces
of the lost, the sparrows of incredible speed.



Wait by the landing for the water. Blight of crop
becomes blight of fields becomes just blight, already
pink heliotrope in rows on the windowsill,
the white in our house overtaken. I’ve made you
a jar of gloves, I’ve sunk one tangerine into
the nest of gray. An ice-dripping apparatus
sits stippled in the sun. Bend the stones around each
aqueduct, complete the pattern of mesh and soap,
you’ll know the place by its overabundance. Bright
slurry will sweep and surge, past delicate systems
of jeweled tripods, a piece of your thigh taken
out by frost. The sun rises behind your head,
it filters through the ice-tipped leaves as they decay,
it bristles in the net work, clarifies your ear.  


Montreux Rotholtz is a Seattle native and a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work is forthcoming in LVNG magazine, and she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa.