Issue > Poetry
Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon's most recent book, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press), was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters for the Emily Dickinson Room, won the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Prize for poetry. She is an avid paddleboarder and hiker who lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Near-death Experience

I left heaven because the pillows were filled
    with grief and the bedsheets had a threadcount
         of longing. None of the angels wanted to talk
about moisturizer, my recipe for vegan pizza,
    and every morning, I'd wake up hoping for sin
with my muesli, but instead they offered me
sugar while the living sent prayer requests
    to my mailbox. I decided I was wrong
about desire—that earth while messy,
has the best sex and wi-fi. Maybe I was tired
    of trying to explain to saints the joys of being
tempted. And how I missed bandaids
and credit cards, apologies and sad songs.
    I left heaven with an unmade bed and enough
light to fill a stairway. Maybe in real life
the wound is misrepresented, mismanaged
    by its handlers; pain and loss are D-list celebrities
we try to avoid, but between aching,
maybe sacred is tangled bedsheets, maybe
it's the rip in the pillowcase that helps us
     recreate the clouds.


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