Suddenly, her dorm room feels too small

Three poems by Casey Cromwell

The First Spark

  • One girl and one boy:
  • just talking, then falling.
  • Suddenly, her dorm room feels
  • too small, two souls peeled
  • clean and raw, like copper wires
  • stripped, electricity whipping
  • silent sparks, dancing and daring,
  • as faces flush and legs brush,
  • spellbinding and scaring,
  • Until the skin becomes trained
  • to crave those shocks like the flame
  • that keeps a hearth cozy and warm
  • even during the coldest of storms.

Crash and Burn

  • I stare down at blistered
  • skin now branded by the oven
  • days after he cremated my heart.
  • Both accidents, I suppose,
  • from heat, hypnotic as fireflies:
  • the smell of baked cinnamon hugging
  • my nostrils or sparks from a
  • stray thumb tracing my thigh.
  • At age eight, I dreamed of soaring into space
  • but I didn’t spy stars in his eyes —
  • I found the sun, so bright it stings, scorching
  • my wings. Until I
  • fall.
  • Like the tray of cookies,
  • when hot steel kisses flesh.
  • The tray doesn’t shatter at impact.
  • I do.


  • If my soles rooted into the ground,
  • I’d reign over ’Carolina hills
  • without a sound 
  • ’til the night it/I screamed,
  • struck — by lightning now bound 
  • with bark in a splintered
  • scar — but not struck down.
  • Under lights of the city,
  • I am a telephone pole tailored
  • in the skin of that tree/me.
  • It/I always buzz, so busy
  • recording strangers’ lives
  • with ink or electricity
  • because stolen words sound
  • less wooden 
  • than my choppy journal entries. 
  • Dancing along both trunks,
  • another it/me I’d find: a squirrel
  • hoarding dreams like domes of pine.
  • Most seeds strangle on dirt and die
  • while a few bloom and multiply (much
  • like one simple question planted
  • this poem of mine).
  • Perhaps if nature acts as my mirror,
  • even once my soul withers,
  • in an it, I can reappear.

Casey Cromwell has published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction in Point Loma Nazarene University’s literary magazine, winning third place for poetry during her sophomore year. She also writes a successful blog (caseythecollegeceliac.blogspot.com) and has written for Further Food, Beyond Celiac, and San Diego Writers, Ink. She is currently a senior writing major at PLNU. 

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