Chelsea Harlan
The Long Blue Dress

I whooshed

through the party.


I grew

a set of invisible hands.


I was flower girl

to the Commonwealth


where lovers danced a dance

called the snowdrift.


Sugar maples




in my glass.


The dogs slackened

in their webs of shade.


A democracy

of clouds formed,


a storm

was decided.


Everyone inside,

candles on.


I say

it makes sense!


Every raindrop

a little bell,


every switchback

and holler baptized.


But it felt

so good to cry.


I stacked

the wood so high


I never again left.

I never again wore shoes.


My long blue dress

suggested my power,


my powerful sadness.

And you and you


and you

and the gyrating populace


and everyone

was there.

Found In Volume 51, No. 05
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Chelsea Harlan
About the Author

Chelsea Harlan is the winner of the 2022 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for Bright Shade, chosen by Jericho Brown. She was born and raised in Appalachian Virginia. She holds a BA in Literature and Visual Art from Bennington College, as well as an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and a Rose Goldstein Scholar. She is the author of a chapbook, Mummy, written in collaboration with London-based painter Daisy Parris, which was released by Montez Press in 2019, and her chapbook Country Music was released from Two Plum Press in 2021. She lives in upstate New York, where she works at a small public library.