You call me into the playroom where you’ve stacked blocks on the floor, words tumbling off
your tongue as you try to explain the grandeur of the castle you built. Nice I say and turn back
to the jumble of images abandoned on my desk. I was describing the day we climbed a real castle to the top.
Rocks crumbled under your feet, the descent into the valley below steep enough to snatch the breath
from a dream dropped over a wall. Fear cracked in my chest every time you neared the edge
and I played the imperious queen to your unruly subject, my arms locked, unforgiving as iron.
There were no poems towering between us, no silences you needed to scale in order to reach me,
only mother and son, entwined under the sky´s shimmering kingdom. Now, I grapple with intangibles,
how to stack word after word of love on a piece of paper too flimsy to withstand the weight
when you emerge, translucent, a phantom haunting the halls of my mind. Mommy, come see
what I built, you say, face flickering, a slip of a voice falling, falling into a hollow.
Julie Weiss’s debut chapbook, The Places We Empty, will be published by Kelsay Books in July 2021. In 2020, she was a finalist in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series and for The Magnolia Review´s Ink Award. In 2019 she was a Best of the Net Nominee. Recent work appears in Better Than Starbucks, Praxis Magazine, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others, and she has poems in many anthologies, as well. Originally from California, she lives in Spain with her wife and two young children. You can find her on Twitter @colourofpoetry or on her website at https://julieweiss2001.wordpress.com/.