True Story

by Kay Cosgrove & Lauren Hilger

Now, when I read this, a cloud covers
a marble lobby deep in sick July,
changing my face with grief.

I have been here before,
at least every summer since, hot air,
a hug behind a locked hotel room door—

it burned through.
My hands cement but once
I ran from a bull.

He said he liked my dress,
feet up on the desk, his eyes full of me.
A hidden man. His sign of life, his corner.

Funny but not how the weight lifted
once the door clicked
for me to say:

Take my mind with all its plans.
Take my mouth, candy-rimmed teeth,
for the road.

Would I ever get home?
I didn’t know how to drive
or which direction was east.

Who lives among us, the loudest and least.
Mostly, I put my head down and let someone
arrive. The addresses alone enough for me,

my dream of a backyard with leaves stacked like dolls’ cups.
Market and champagne toast mid-afternoon,
in the way of the celebrated cinema’s intermission band.

To what we were toasting? The changing hour?


Kay Cosgrove & Lauren Hilger have published their collaborative poetry in Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Ninth Letter, and Washington Square, among other journals. They have also presented on collaboration at Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference and FRIEDA for generations. For more information, visit and


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