“Last Year Without” by Haley VanHeukelom
Haley Van Heukelom is a recent graduate of the University of Northern Colorado. She is the 2013 winner of the Rosenberry Prize, UNC’s award for exceptional student writing. She also won first prize for creative non-fiction in Northern Colorado’s student literary awards. She has published several poems in publications including: Gravel magazine, Isthmus, Lingerpost, and the Four Ties Lit. Review. Haley currently lives and writes in Bend, Oregon.
We tell ourselves “the possibilities are endless” so that we can cling to what we desire. Our hearts cry “tell me… tell me” we can dance on the roof in the moonlight. Tell me we’ll laugh and wake up happy together. Hope – for companionship, for love – lingers, creating an imagined landscape that can change as quickly as the words “I walked out the minute I knew.” What the poet understands and what makes this poem more than just a series of wishes: our hearts don’t let go of those possibilities so easily. We exchange one imagined landscape for another where the same people play new roles, in this case of longing and loss. In our hurt, we cannot conceive of a world without the beloved so we let the idea of them linger “that whole year.”
The lines borrowed from poet Richard Siken inspired the choice of Bodoni, the eponymous typeface of typographer Giambattista Bodoni whose advice on design guides much of what happens on Architrave’s pages. Beyond homage, Bodoni’s high contrast between thick and thin strokes echoes the way the poem addresses presence and absence. The title has been kerned to feel open, almost empty like a living room with only people and no couches.