What If We Wake Up Dead

By Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

what if we plant roses beside the shed
what if we paint the living room a muddy incarnadine
what if you go on a diet
what if we go to Paris
what if the dog’s ghost follows us      when the house is sold
where will we go      when the house is sold
what if we try talking
what if I could be nice
what if we have to move in with your mother
what if we could be honest about the weather
what if   like a father      you get up only to leave the room
what if   like a mother      I speak only in other rooms
what if we redo the kitchen and you become a pastry chef
what if we move to Phoenix
what if I smash the Lennox
what   if I drive away         what is good
what   if I drive away         into a tree
what if we cross our hearts
what if we make applesauce
what if you become what killed your father
what if I can’t forgive what killed your father
what      if the kids could see us
what      if the kids become us
what      if the kids inherit everything

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a poet, educator, interdisciplinary artist, and licensed builder. The author of A Wake with Nine Shades (2019) and Her Read, a graphic poem (2021), she has received grants from Vermont Studio Center, Sewanee Writers Conference, Warren Wilson College and Community of Writers. Her poems have recently appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior, Cincinnati Review, Guesthouse, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Pleiades, Plume, Rhino and elsewhere.

Twitter: @jenssread
Website: jennifersperrysteinorth.com/her-erasure-read

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