The View from Room 102, by Jenifer DeBellis

And memory rolls loaded
dice across the waves . . .”
Joe Bolton “Smoke and Gold: Cedar Key, 1988”


We covered the windows with rags
& sheets the way clouds do a pre-storm
sky: tacked our shadows to the pane.

We cleared cobwebs with a broken
broom the way autumn does
dead leaves: breath by brushed breath.

We collected the rain in pots
& pans the way the moon does tears
from heaven: one drop at a time.

We buried our secrets in shallow
graves the way enemy soldiers do
war casualties: soul atop crushed soul.


About “The View from Room 102”: “The View from Room 102” is a poem from my chapbook, Blood Sisters, which explores the experiences that formed my views on politics, relationships, and sexuality. When I developed this poem, I was teaching a segment in my creative writing class that invited students to pick a memory—something that exists in their internal world—and then juxtapose this with elements of the larger world. I opened class with a line from Joe Bolton’s poem, “Smoke and Gold: Cedar Key, 1988.” I asked my students to consider what would happen if a “memory rolls loaded dice across the waves?” Before we started the prompt, we analyzed Lee Young Li’s poem, “From Blossoms.” What I took away from Li’s poem and brought into my own is What orchard do I harbor inside of me? what world?

Metro Detroit writer Jenifer DeBellis is Pink Panther Magazine’s Executive Editor and eBook Editor and Poetry Reader for Solstice Lit Mag. She’s a Solstice MFA in Creative Writing graduate and former Meadow Brook Writing Project Writer-in-Residence. JDB teaches creative writing for Baker College and Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Writing Camps. Her poetry and prose appear or are forthcoming in publications such as AWP’s Festival Writerthe Good Men Project, Literary Orphans, and Solstice Literary Magazine.


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