Callista Buchen


Callista Buchen is the author of the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, October 2015) and Double-Mouthed (winter 2016, dancing girl press). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals, and she is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award and DIAGRAM’s essay contest.



I insist on a safe room, something guaranteed to stand the wind. This is life on the prairie, I say. The men bring bolts, drive rebar through concrete. We make everything hard. The steel room out in the garage, loaded with gallons of water, the extra pairs of shoes, the threat. I know a mother who plans to tip the dryer over her children during a storm. What can I do, she says, and we all nod.

The weather is easy enough. After the children are asleep, I make dinners for the week and freeze them, I refill the soap dispensers, I sort laundry, as if I can hold it back. I curl against the tile floor in the kitchen and stay up late making lists, drawing maps. When I mistake the wind for a woman weeping, I wake the husband. Where can I get more steel, I ask him, my fingers on the baby’s chest, counting breaths.