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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 19: 15 Aug. 2023
Poem: 194 words
By Hayley Mitchell Haugen


—For Peter
After the separation, I reclaim domestic real estate 
patching holes where CDs once filled every wall space, 

delighting in newly discovered electrical outlets 
emerging dusty-faced from behind the record cubes. 

In the bedroom, I groom the landscape of carpet, 
a fresh expanse of low-pile white unearthed 

in a morning’s worth of effort: no more Blue Rays 
tumbling like rockfall from every nook, no magazines 

stacked next to, on top of, or under anything. 
Wandering in, my son stops in his tracks. 

Whoa, Mom, he says, this is wow. This is 
a liminal space. Look it up, he says, 

explaining that the bare floor, the green chair, 
the sliding door curtains that block passage to nowhere 

are like those spaces between rooms in IKEA. 
Oh, baby, I think, my sweet teen, your mama knows 

this threshold well, this life on the boundary, 
this sense of being there, yet not quite there yet—

a between space that, like you, so many find unnerving, 
but I am through with the what was, the familiar, am ready 

for next, the new beginning, even if I have to linger awhile, 
patient in this place of waiting. 

Hayley Mitchell Haugen
Issue 19 (15 August 2023)

is a Professor of English at Ohio University Southern. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag (2018) is her first full-length poetry collection, and her chapbook What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To is from Finishing Line Press (2016). Her latest chapbook, The Blue Wife Poems, is from Kelsay Books (2022). She edits Sheila-Na-Gig online and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions:


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