If

If I made a chapel out of Plaster of Paris and whitewashed its walls, installed it where my mailbox should be. If I stationed it at the end of my driveway. If I left small offerings each day—a handful of lavender, an untwisted Bazooka wrapper, an old to-do list all used up and nearly finished. If I painted its dome in Santorini blue, showed restraint and didn’t Bedazzle its doorway or graffiti a love note along the back wall. If I faced the Narthex eastward and captured what comes with the rising sun. If I left you a glass of cold lemonade on the hottest day. If I sat in a rocker wearing a black shirt dress and watched for your return. I could let my cat twist herself around the chair legs. If I bided my time enough to grow you a bed of heirloom tomatoes. If I shrunk to fit inside a palm frond’s shadow. If I recreated that swamp in Charleston, the one with the sinking tree and the alligators napping on dead logs. If I left you a camera full of someone else’s pictures. If I paid attention to the evening birds cawing what sounded like abide…abide…abide…

*

Stephanie Kartalopoulos teaches writing and literature at Kennesaw State and Clemson University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Missouri, where she was a Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry. Her work has appeared widely in journals such as Laurel Review, 32 Poems, Waccamaw, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Phoebe. Stephanie lives in Atlanta, GA.

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