on estrangement

My father never returned home from war. He was not a soldier or a man of great American width. He was a lawyer, and before that a child. When his mother was killed, he stayed in a mansion for a few months as contractors scraped the kitchen floorboards from their memory of blood. The mansion was a senator’s. My grandfather is a judge, and now so is my father. The senator’s son is a senator. They are friends. My sister went to this mansion for the senator-son’s-fundraiser. She wore a dress. He didn’t talk to me the whole time, she said, I just ate the shrimp. I think of my father in a haunted old mansion that he lived in to avoid being haunted. Drinking bourbon with a straw. I don’t know what I’d do to avoid thinking of blood. Perhaps I’d change nothing.


grace (ge) gilbert is a hybrid writer based in Pittsburgh. they received their MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2022, where they now serve as a Visiting Lecturer. they are the author of 3 chapbooks: the closeted diaries: essays (Porkbelly Press 2022), NOTIFICATIONS IN THE DARK (Antenna Books 2023), and today is an unholy suite (forthcoming; Barrelhouse 2023). their work can be found in 2023’s Best of the Net Anthology, the Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, the Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. They teach hybrid collage and poetics courses at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and they are a 2023 Visiting Teaching Artist at the Poetry Foundation. they are passionate about making the hybrid arts accessible to all. find course offerings and more at gracegegilbert.com