A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Claire Cronin



The actors here are real, they have
real lives and realer deaths

Fasting saints and stars go to the desert
to have visions in resorts

Sometimes a real life slips out between scenes
and looks just like a dead lord in a painting

As if before a greenscreen, pull the background from me

The desert is a sea for cars to swim in 


SONG (To disappear)


To end inside myself, I took your body on my back
                revision of one history through haunting

The landscape from our window is a distance
where the heart contracts
                  imitation of some presence— vague and faceless in the trees

A shadow may be fixed inside a frame

You are the light reflected in each scene

A debt paid for my wilderness
                    the moon unsays our names between the blinds

A dream I had inside your clothes
where gathered voices rise
                   as if the light addresses us in speech



My mother wed my father because he owned a field
He liked her for her scent— orange blossom and wet tile

In polaroids, my parents stand so close their ears touch;
behind them, straight black avenues of spruces

This was before the witches sucked them into the TV
and came to burn our house down every night

We had to wake up early to rebuild it out of paper—
my sister and I folded, licked the doors and windows shut

The witches took us to a store that sold only glass objects
and said we could have anything we wanted

Since then, my palms have ached whenever they are empty
which is why I’m smoking cigarettes and carrying this bell

The witches screen their spells— they use the moon to draw each fate
They split my name in half and left a broadcast in its place


I don't have one favorite souvenir, but I do have an altar in my bedroom of precious objects. Some of these things include: prayer cards, a blessed cloth, a Marie Antoinette figurine, a plastic gold necklace, memorial cards of dead loved ones, a jar of frankincense, blue ribbons. 

Claire Cronin is a poet and songwriter from Los Angeles, currently living in Athens, GA. She is the author of the chapbook Therese (H_NGM_N, 2014) and winner of the Fairy Tale Review 2014 Poetry Award, judged by Ilya Kaminsky. Some of her work can be found in Vinyl PoetryPreludeYalobusha ReviewBOAAT, and The Volta. Claire has an MFA from the University of California, Irvine and is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. Her website is: