“Trial of the Hippocampus,” a poem by Sarah Cheshire

Sarah Cheshire

Trial of the Hippocampus

Her: uproarious laughter—       a narrow staircase—
Me: cheap cologne—   wilted rosemary on the windowsill—
Her: distant voices—    strong hands—   breathlessness —
Me: mildew—                           snow—              a single half-burnt candle—  

Them: but which came first, the beer
Or the laughter
And was it you who let his rosemary
(And when you say your rosaries
Do your sons pray
For him like his daughters
Pray for you)

Find home on this diagram,
Place yourself there—
Look down, become small,

Watch your body from afar.
Do it here like you do in your sleep,
Become a speck of dust

On a thinly-drawn street.
Now, move backwards
Towards the crime scene—
(The place within the non-place,
The pulse within the ache)
Are you there yet?

Tell us: how can you say you’re afraid of flying
When we’ve just seen you float—
When you flew so fast out of that house

That your feet left no footprints on the pavement,
And without footprints
How can we confirm that you were there to begin with,
And how is the banister still seared into your brain
When you can’t even tell us about the façade—

What is a house without a frame

Tell us please
How memory hides
In rooms


By hallways

Sarah Cheshire is of the author of Unravelings, winner of the 2016 Etchings Press Prize Chapbook Prize. Her writing can be found in Scalawag Magazine, Brevity, River Teeth, Creative Nonfiction‘s anthology Southern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly, and forthcoming in the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. She is the winner of the 2018 AWP Kurt Brown Award in Creative Nonfiction, a finalist for the 2018 Disquiet International Literary Prize, and a semi-finalist for the 2017 American Short(er) Fiction Contest. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and serves as the nonfiction editor for Black Warrior Review.

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