Dusty Strings by C.G. Dahlin


It’s quiet. 

The hollow shake of a thermos. 

Air resting, suspended, lukewarm. 

My skull is full of mothballs. 

My limbs, stone. 

My glands 


in secret. 

Whisky dribbling. 

Sink half full of muck. 

She’s thinking of me, 

I can feel it in a pit 

knotting in my gut. 

She’s wearing white 

and she hates it. 

It’s blotchy 

with granules of 

displeasing hue. 

She turns away from the itch. 

Her right side feels heavy, legs precarious, 

knees rickety, spine serrated, breasts drooping. 

Hands, wanting a grip, but I’m lost, dribbling, 

fumbling, void, voiceless, vacant, forlorn. 

I’m innocent but helpless, as common as cloth. 

Secret though, in the insulation’s inn, quiet. 

Lost in air, sequestered in phenomenal sequence, 

distinctly indistinct, sinking, making the air smell grey. 

She lights a candle, the wax drips and hardens midway. 

She takes off the white blouse, shoves it in the corner, 

plays french music, focuses on the flame, still. 

It crackles, free, yet bound to wick, poignant, poetic. 

She thinks of Idaho, the chimney, the soot. 

Her lips open, as if to speak a word, 

but nothing comes out. 

It’s quiet here. 

It’s quiet. 

About the Author

C.G. Dahlin was the first designated Poet Laureate of the University of Wisconsin–Stouts Honors College. In Central Washington, Dahlin spearheaded two volumes of the regional anthology The Whispers of Wenatchee. He now attends Eastern Washington University for an MFA in Creative Writing and is the Managing Editor for the practicum program, Writers in the Community.

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