edited by Sean Enfield
Kelsey Cooley is relatively new to the web. She first performed with Spiderweb for last November’s Fall Masquerade. Kelsey came to Spiderweb by way of co-executive editor, Sean Enfield. The two have participated in the same local writer’s workshop for quite some time. Recently, Kelsey brought the house down at our Very Rare! Dallas showcase where she shared the tumultuous, funny, true, and thoroughly scatalogical european travelouge. And she even brought along a PowerPoint presentation!
Today, we are excited to bring you her poem, “I’ve Left Myself on the Carpeted Stairs.” Kelsey remarks that her poems over the last year have emerged from her daily journaling, and indeed, “Carpeted Stairs” has the markings of deeply-felt confessional poetry. The narrator’s psychological warfare is grounded at the site of a trauma starkly evoked throughout the poem. You can read the poem below, and check out our other features here.
I’ve Left Myself on the Carpeted Stairs
Everywhere I look
there are carpeted stairs.
I’m in my Christmas recital costume
while you lift my gauzy skirts
up to my waist. I can hear your father
You are teasing me—and slowly
infuriating me. I become irate and then
you switch tones. Now you grab my wrists and say
“I hate you.” I open my mouth to respond
but you insert your first between my teeth. I bite and scratch at your skin.
There are black shadows on the wall watching
you suffocate me. I am flipped onto my stomach
and with one hand holding my nose while the other
is over my mouth—you drain me of
At last, my breath leaves me
and so do you. I cross the threshold of your room
a new woman… moments ago I was just a girl
twirling my fingers in my hair. I sit on the carpeted stairs
as you slam your door shut
I hate me too.
Kelsey Cooley is recent graduate from the University of North Texas. Currently, she is in the middle of getting her teaching certification. Her work has appeared in the Immix, OTV Magazine, and Twelve Point Collective.
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