Alone

In Craft, Fiction, Poetry by

A selection from our “Isolation” call for submissions.
By Madeleine Gallo

Photo illustration by David Greenawald

Photo illustration by David Greenawald.

In the morning her breakfast looks good enough for two —
a pair golden brown pancakes with fresh strawberries.
She takes the time to dress the table
and pin back the curtains
so any passing boys can admire her work.
At nine she goes shopping and promises herself
the golden necklace she has been wanting
if she gets a kiss today.
After an afternoon nap and a long evening
spent folding the creases out of lace and velvet skirts,
she comes into the kitchen
and looks at the strawberry pulp in the drain,
mashed and bleeding red
like a pair of unkissed lips.
With the curtains closed, she slips back into bed,
beautiful and silent, her throat bare.

Seeing a beautiful woman eating alone in a restaurant and yearning to create her backstory inspired Madeleine Gallo to write “Alone.” Poetry usually comes to Gallo “suddenly and accidentally,” so she’s learned to carry around paper wherever she goes. One of her favorite poets is Wallace Stevens (in particular, his pieces “Emperor of Ice-Cream” and “The Snow Man”), of whom she says, “he has a way of voicing thoughts we all have in a way no one else can.” A literature and creative writing student at Virginia Tech and a native of Radford, Gallo has always been engaged in one way or another with the New River Valley.

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