Renee Emerson


The sheets are thin and white as a bill
we can’t pay. Light and faces filter
through pink plaid, blue stripe. I am the parent
who builds the best tents. Ties sheet-corners
to the spindle-spines of kitchen chairs—
Mawmaw’s chicken house walnut chairs,
the black-painted Walmart chairs from college,
the roadside abandoned chairs, all clustered
like a last supper.

In the living room, our only space for such
extravagances, they play sentinels to the lair.
I weigh down what is uncertain, leave a measure
of concealment, of places to view the outside.
Inevitably, the children find the most joy
in the careful structure collapsing.

Renee Emerson

is the author of Threshing Floor (Jacar Press, 2016) and of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014), a finalist for the Jacar Press Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book Published by an Independent Press in 2014. She currently resides in Arkansas with her husband and daughters.