A Poem by Amy Sage Webb-Baza

Ladies Home 

Hummel statuettes in a lit 
mirrored cabinet. A candy dish 
of hobnailed glass shaped 
like a Victorian woman’s boot. 
Tatted doilies on armrests and 
crocheted afghans draping sofa 
backs. A cuckoo clock just off 
the hour despite winding 
with those little hanging 
pinecone chain weights.
I still see and smell the 
bric-a-brac of ladies’ 
homes, the curtain swags 
and fanned magazines 
on coffee tables and 
all the kitsch 
that pitched me into 
neutrals and bare surfaces 
for such a long time. 

Now somehow I buy bright 
hand blown glass vases 
I fill with flowers. I cover 
the couch with throw pillows,
and even though I don’t host 
teas, I’ve come to understand 
my great aunt’s mismatched 
set of frilly filigreed cups. 
I used to want to travel 
light and lean, all clean lines 
and possibilities. But I found 
myself tethered in place 
and the days grew so long,
my mind so burred with shards 
of thought that scoured 
spaces were no longer places 
of ease. So I invited color in. 
I painted. I hung up rugs 
and art. I cultivated 
my own clutter. 
I moved myself in 
and I felt fine, less 
a mess, even 
better than fine.

Amy Sage Webb-Baza is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emporia State University, where she was named Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor and directs the Donald Reichardt Center for Publishing and Literary Arts. She is managing editor for Bluestem Press and Flint Hills Review. She publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and is author of Your Own Life: Kansas Stories (Woodley Press, 2012).  

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.