The Boiler

Rebecca Valley


You open your mouth. Inside there is a snowglobe. On the nightstand a cup of water has frozen. It expands, and the shards cut my cheek in the shape of two bodies, separated by a frosted pane of glass.

In my one hand my mother is asleep on the sofa, watching headlights hit the wall over and over. In the other you are dozing in the bathtub, your mouth open, fingering the damp rim of the drain.

Now I am a raw scrape on my mother’s knee. I am the purple skin peeling off her breastbone, when the bandage came off and no one was there to see it.

In the cat’s eye, a snowglobe. My mother stands inside it, touching the dogs in their own language. I turn a cup over, inspect the damages. The fragments paint a kaleidoscope on the wall.

Rebecca Valley’s work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Rattle, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among other journals. She currently serves as an associate poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review, and as the editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on minority authors and books in translation. She recently moved from Washington state to Northampton, Massachusetts to pursue an MFA in Poetry at UMass Amherst.