Emily Linstrom: A Gown of Swimming Constellations

Emily Linstrom: A Gown of Swimming Constellations
Photo: Emily Linstrom

Photo: Emily Linstrom

The Years


There is a house behind an opera curtain of Spanish moss, 

at the end of the road and memory—

call it the periphery—


a seafarer quit his wife for water,

leaving her to bleed into magnolias, into candy dishes

and the birthday wishes of her children 

and their children

and she never saw him again, retreating with her

ghost feet into moonlight, milking the edges of

the waking world like a vampire too polite to feed.


Her flesh: exquisite astronomy,

a gown of swimming constellations


this is time as it was handed to me.


A perfume ad that scents a magazine

with something sad, unpalatable

and almost pitifully out of style;


yes, I’ve felt my own irrelevance.


All women know that place, that summer

when first love tastes like an armada

set to sail right off the edge of the world,

you thought the danger was in losing

but no, it was believing yourself incapable

of surviving space, becoming a body

impervious to the gravity of another.



Years are breathing things, you know.

They live.

They are not meant to be waded in

like oceans only ankle-deep, a child’s pool

and the promise of an eventual tempest,

his boyish face the zephyr

but your vessel stilled on a waiting surface.


My love for you was pagan graffiti

etched into a centurion’s wall:

Where were you? I waited all night

Only the dead never tire

of growing roots through their feet,

of shooing away little clocks with wings—


you see years, my darling, are living things.   

Emily Linstrom is an American writer, artist, and pagan soul residing in Italy. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Carve Magazine, Bitch Media, The Wisdom Daily, and A Women's Thing, with forthcoming pieces in award-winning feminist horror magazine Suspira and Quail Bell’s anthology Her Plumage, a collection for the organization She Is Rising. Linstrom was the first prize recipient of Pulp Literature Press's 2015 The Raven short story contest, and is a regular contributor for Sabat Magazine. You can view her work at www.emilylinstrom.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at betterlatethan_em