“Illinoise Gothic” by Jemma Leigh Roe

Illinoise Gothic

When you dissolved

into the white expanse

of silence, they kept telling me

you had gone to the silo

that stored our nightmares,

story after story,

on the unblinking plain.

Through the rippling rye

to be threshed at dawn,

I raced against the tornado

swallowing whole fence posts,

pickup trucks, livestock, sod,

screeching words unutterable.

Beyond the state limits

on a night of no sound, I

found your bracelet

caught between the barbed wire:

a gibbet for all that remained of you

I could keep safe.

Jemma Leigh Roe studied art at the Université Paris-Sorbonne and received a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University. Her poems and artwork are featured or forthcoming in The Ilanot Review, Thin Air Magazine, Literary North, Canyon Voices, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and others. www.jemmaleighroe.com. Instagram: @jemleighroe.