by Julie Brooks Barbour

I enter a hallway, windows coated with dust, floor cluttered with
discarded possessions.  The light glows and fragments, descends
toward evening.  In a long stairwell I right myself with a handrail,
remember laughter, favorite foods, and who I love.

But love confuses.  The stairwell has never been so steep, like a trail
I hiked above a gorge.  There was the scent of dirt and damp ferns,
the scuff of shoes, and a fear of falling, every inch taken slowly and
with great consideration.

by Julie Brooks Barbour

I learn to bury.  I dig a hole and insert remains: a pillowcase, a record
album, and a carpet sample.  I dig like a dog and throw dirt behind
myself.  The energy is not in the act of digging but getting rid of what
haunts, allowing no remembrance, no shallow grave for these remains.  
Depth is required. The hole must be difficult to locate.  No animal should
be able to sniff it out.

by Julie Brooks Barbour

Someone left.

Someone was always leaving.

Someone rose from the bed at night and said goodbye.

This has always been about the leaving.

Someone never returned.

This was not love. This was never about love, but I have only had a name
for what this is not.

In the morning, I carried a red suitcase across the street.

by Julie Brooks Barbour

I wanted to be anonymous.  Not like anyone else, but no one.  Nameless.  
Nowhere to glance.  I wanted to slip away easily—no person would
know I left a room.  Someone would think of my face, perhaps, but not
knowing my name or details, would forget about me.  I debated
shielding my face with a mask or bag, or wearing a wig so I would be
less noticeable.  Then I realized these additions would bring me attention.  
I wanted to watch the world, not have the world watch me.  I wanted
to be a tree or a leaf, always present but not seen.  But then the
attention in spring and fall, eyes resting on me, even momentarily.  I was
close to exploding then.  I would certainly break but not in dispersed
pieces.  I would burst and fade like a soap bubble.  I would hardly leave
a trace.


Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of two collections of poetry from
Aldrich Press.  
Small Chimes was published in 2014, and Haunted
is forthcoming in 2016.  Her third chapbook, Beautifully Whole,
was published by Hermeneutic Chaos Press in 2015.  Brooks Barbour
is co-editor of
Border Crossing and Poetry Editor at Connotation
Press: An Online Artifact
.  A recipient of an Artist Enrichment Grant
from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and a residency at
Sundress Academy for the Arts, she teaches writing at Lake Superior
State University.

Previous page   Apple Valley Review, Fall 2016   Next page
Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 11, Number 2
(Fall 2016)

Copyright © 2016
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.