Poems from Whitney Walters

Dear Girl

I see you

sitting beneath the trees

in the campus library

piecing together the philosophy

of words you describe yourself with.

I know you

will figure out the rhythms

as you sit in the window nook

listening to heels punctuating the hallway

and watching the stairs round with age.

I’ve heard the way you speak

observed the way your movements

translate ideas and form thoughts

in the space between.

And yet I wonder.

When was the last time

you aligned your spine along the ice

and melded with the watery ceiling beneath you?

For her

Pressing down, I look

up at myself in the rearview

mirror and compel myself

forward, never looking

back to the end of someone

waiting for life to begin.

For surely,

inner torment cannot remain

within the chaos of a being

so focused

on everything in the picture,

but herself.

Because everyone

has seen stop signs,

but have you ever seen red

signs? I wouldn’t change the legends

engraved on my body.

Like all others, my hands

wear the trials of moments

and point out the truth,

laying in the road ahead of me

as I accelerate to deep

water, where I may finally wash

myself of others’

requests and hear the beautiful

shut up as I shower

in my storm of elements

shaping the figure

of letters in the air.

I am

I am the woman in a classy dress

stepping down out of the driver’s seat

of the black

Chevrolet Silverado

she recently waxed

the one who revels

in loaded baked potato soup

and as much bread as she can eat,

who never watched her figure

aside from making sure she eats enough

calories to get through tomorrow’s

two swimming practices

and weight lifting session

I’m the pony-tailed female seen backing

the trailer down the boat landing,

a black lab riding shot-gun,


and swing dancing to jazz today

the sweaty girl covered in dirt

after planting seeds, weeding the garden,

and staining the dock

all morning

before taking a well-earned dip in the lake

and sitting down to read and write

the afternoon away

I’m the daughter

who buys Stanley, DeWalt, and Craftsman

knows the difference between a Philips and a flathead

tore a bathroom down to the studs

to remodel it with her partner

and empowers college students

to write well

as well as the lady licensed and capable

of shooting a gun to hunt

and persistent about collecting

Anchor Hocking Lido Milano antiques

I’m the bride-to-be

watching every play

in a sundrenched baseball hat and jersey

because she’s holding her bachelorette party

at the baseball stadium

before she dresses to the nines

in white


it could be said

I ripped the box


About Whitney Walters

Whitney (Walters) Jacobson is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth and an assistant editor of Split Rock Review. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and reviews have been published or are forthcoming in Assay, DASH, Up North Lit, Wanderlust-Journal, and The Thunderbird Review, among other publications.


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