The National Poetry Review

Caroline Chavatel


In 2011, my summer job burned
to the ground. We congregated
around the restaurant and its flames.
Someone had ordered a well-done burger,
a stove caught fire but failed
to hold it. Champagne rolled
from the doors into the mouths
of the passersby, giving them a taste
of something free. And inside,
the produce and linens burned
into soot, the flames rose like bread
in the parking lot to feed
the town’s hungry gates. And it was
in this absence of order that I felt
the most: all of us huddled to mourn
our loss of wages attached
to a building that powdered before us,
to mourn the circus of our bodies tossed
like day-old and blemished fruit.

CAROLINE CHAVATEL is the author of White Noises (Greentower Press, 2019), which won The Laurel Review’s 2018 Midwest Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Sixth Finch, Foundry, Ninth Letter, and Poetry Northwest, among others. She is co-founding editor of The Shore, an editor at Madhouse Press, and is currently a PhD student at Georgia State University where she is Poetry Editor of New South.

Back to Issue