Online Video Series: Christine Byrne with “After Angela”

Thank you to WHUS for letting us use their space, and of course to Christine for reading!
Filming: Elizabeth Sankey
Editing: Daniela Doncel
Interviewer: Amanda McCarthy

After Angela

Let’s be literal, a moment, talk about
how no one disturbed her bedroom
or how your father won’t say
she’s dead

the window was open and it rained over the dresser before your mother ran in
to close it and froze for a moment and you stood in the hallway affected

Let’s just say for a moment your sister died and everyone’s
affected. And equations don’t matter anymore and you can’t listen
to another lunch conversation debating
the tragic peculiars of
waiting for substance

I miss
your dazed hands grip the edge
apologize at my door in the middle of the night, mother in the kitchen behind me
flustered bathrobe, broom-handed just in case
and I’m thinned from loving the boy whose sister died

I’m not sure how to wear these moments
ensuing to shape
what shouldn’t become of the boy next door-

next door a little girl died

I step outside and my mother calls forward
I step – in your arms – and we – awhile we – rain – together – all while

I apologize for getting so strange at the lunch place,
for the whispers that follow me

I have never for a moment considered you indestructible

or considered the affect
of looking outside of everything so familiar, considered
measuring time by the length of my hair

“I’m Christine, I’m a junior English major. I do have a very blunt style. I have a lot of fragmented lines. I like disjointed syntax and harsh line breaks. I think that I try very hard to not be “too poetic.” At least in my own opinion, having a concept of what you think poetry is, like maybe talking about, like, the sky, you know, et cetera, things like that. And assuming that’s the only thing you can do in your writing, whereas poetry can go in any direction you want it to, like all writing, and it’s great to be experimental and try new things and have your own voice.
Even if you’re not specifically talking about things that happened in your own life, I feel like it’s important to draw from the emotions you feel. Otherwise I don’t think your poetry will feel as sincere to a reader. I don’t think poetry is real if that makes any sense. In terms of honest poetry therefore there is no definition, you just have to write what feels right. And I think that poetry, if you were to define it, is just like, somehow a writer connecting to their emotions and putting that on paper for a way for other people to interpret however they choose.”

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