White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Stephanie Goehring is a 2006 graduate of George Mason University. Her chapbook This Room Has a Ghost is forthcoming from dancing girl press in November 2009. Her poems have appeared in Stolen Island Review, Werewolf Glue and Reimagining Place. She lives and works in Charlottesville, Va.
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Stephanie Goehring



Jackson Pollock's first name was Paul. All I remember from my first funeral is the plaid dress I wore, sitting in a chair, thinking, Please don't make me look inside that box. I could write a much better story about a chair than about anyone who might ever sit in it. There's got to be a better way to move forward than one foot after the other. I'm terrified of anything that makes a move I deem sudden: bees, birds, the wind, your hands, my heartbeat. The first time I remember feeling my pulse around my navel, I thought my heart was falling as a precursor to the sky. If an airplane falls from the sky and no one is around to see it, does Amelia's ghost make a sound? The first person I knew to die was a man but all my ghosts are female. The space under my bed is filled with letters I'll never mail, letters to people I've seen at the side of the road. When Pollock's car ran off the road, his last thought was, All my paintings are cracked windshields.




Jesus Christ never used power tools. "Jesus" was the first bad word I couldn't get enough of: Jesus I hate you. Jesus don't stop. There's a stop sign down the street with "WAR" scrawled on it in black paint. I blacked out in September, fell through the front door, because my heart wanted to lie down. When George Washington said he couldn't tell a lie, his father should have taught him how. Our father, who art in heaven, shallow be thy name. I used to drag your name through the mud, only to end up watering a bed of flowers with blooms shaped like your mouth. I will always be sad that the moon doesn't change shape, that what we see is determined by shadow, interference, light. When the light tells you to cross the street, run the other way. The cross they built for Jesus was hollow and should have fallen down.

Stephanie Goehring



Marilyn Monroe once made a living inspecting parachutes. I used to make my heart stop just to see if it would start again. If I would have known it would be our last kiss, I would have opened my eyes. When Pandora opened the box, she was only looking to crawl inside. When you say My heart is open, I think your heart must be like one of those parking garages that has really shitty hours. I can't unswallow this Percocet; walking out into the parking lot, it smells like nutmeg, like bourbon, like gasoline. The space between our ribs spreads like a tree's branches. Nothing hurts; that tree is an oak, is a maple, is a pine. I don't know what hurts more: that my body is a room with a view or that we've been designed to save each other by pressing our mouths together, breathing. The view from the top of any building in the world is the same as the view into any body of water, any empty room. When Monroe lied down that night, she wanted to dream of parachutes but dreamt of the dimmest light in the world turning off and on and off and on again.

Stephanie Goehring



The woman on the stairs of one of my childhood homes was somehow perpetually caught in wind. I've never caught a fish. If I'm near a fishbowl for too long, whatever swims inside it stops. Inside the closet is a door. Beyond the door is a ladder. The ladder abuts the ceiling. The ceiling keeps the sky out of your eyes. I want to touch you with my eyelashes. The first time I felt touched by nothing, I knew something had put its hand on my arm, as if to warn me, stop me short. The shortest distance between two points is the easiest way to lose someone. The point of the story is that the words are almost touching, each sentence a body and its distant organs. Someone I used to know once bought an organ that could only make one sound. The woman on the stairs, the wind through her dress — it sounded like water choosing to flow in the opposite direction.












Copyright © Stephanie Goehring. White Whale Review, issue 1.1

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