Delores by Priscilla Atkins (Apple Valley Review)

On Mike’s Mom’s side she was an aunt once-
removed.  Twice-divorced, lithesome Delores
had boyfriends (manfriends).  One time Mike
and her son Dennis played outside.  They wanted
Cokes and stuck their noses to the screen door
until Delores, wrapped in a towel, came and
murmured, “We’re not done yet.”  Later,
when the man slipped out and they slipped in, Mike
reported that the house smelled uneven.
Once, I was in her car when she drove me
home from somewhere.  Delores’s car was dark blue
with white bucket seats.  It smelled like icebox roses.
She wore a pair of elbow-length gloves.  So Barbie
or Tressy.  The age where every window is a mirror
you see yourself in.

– Priscilla Atkins

Originally published in Apple Valley Review 8.1, Spring 2013;
edited by Leah Browning

What interested me most about this brilliantly narrative  piece was its almost prose-poem quality, a kind of breathless disclosure that had characteristics of the adolescent observing this enigmatic figure, and the older narrator reflecting upon a curious happenstance, with a space for the reader to negotiate these kinds of universal indelible impressions in between.

My favorite line is “So Barbie or Tressy,” which situates the poem in relational space and in irony. This, to me, seems to be the nature of memory/recollection – a kind of revelatory quality of arrival;  an  instantaneous impression that resonates  to comprise a sensory whole;  a touchstone that delineates a complete yet ephemeral time signature.  Priscilla Atkins shared with me her arrival at the line: “It was the gloves floating in my mind that led to the leap.” And, who among us doesn’t have a woman from our collective past  like Delores,  who simultaneously attracted and repelled us, but who nevertheless slips out of our minds and slips in? Who doesn’t secretly aspire to Delores’ unconventional variety of freedom and self-possession, in whatever form it might take? – RK

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Rosemarie Koch earned her MFA in Poetry from Arcadia University in 2013 – the culmination of a lifelong dream. For her, poetry is an art form that crosses all forms, and is also a great source of joy – both reading it and writing it. She has recited Hopkins’ “Windhover” at many poetic and non-poetic gatherings, regards William Blake and Emily Dickinson as close personal friends, and finds poetry in everything she hears and sees. Her work with Minotaur’s Spotlight is an extension of her love of verse. [/author_info] [/author]