Souvenirs by Whitney Hansen


I had another nightmare about you. Your body

sinking into itself, pooling into velvet lining until I woke 

with an urge to clean. I overturned the closet of old suitcases

spilling souvenirs we never managed to unpack

watching them crawl into the tilts of our old house, lean into

the cracked edges of foundation. You always said we should move,

that it wasn’t safe to put down roots in a place that smelled of sawdust.

I’m ashamed of the rolls we never developed – the lighting wasn’t right

then, but now that every picture I have of your smile is unfurling 

across the room, rattling against pressed penny landmarks, I wish I could destroy 

the evidence of that indifference. Instead, I plucked feathers from our bed

until the house became a cemetery

for flight. In this moment, I would fuck a ghost if only to never

again say you’ve gone too far from me, if only for you to enter 

my bones instead & pluck them from my body 

as emptiness clasps my hands. A Doppler roar 

races through the moment, shrieking toward the hospital

of my chest, gripping pulsing walls in coiled fist. I can hear 

your moans in the wail of the floorboards.

I can see strands of your hair woven into attic beams

of light, always meant to curl instead of fold. All I wanted 

was to fall asleep with my hands in your hair. All I have

is a fist full of splinters & souvenirs.

Whitney Hansen (she/they) is a Midwestern writer and teacher who would fight God for half a sesame bagel. Their work is published/forthcoming in Olney Magazine, Variant Literature, Nightingale & Sparrow, Sledgehammer Lit, Warning Lines, and more. Twitter: @whitneyhansen_