Poetry #2 – Courtney Kistner

The Longing in Everything

Piece by piece you find the things that house you.

They give you life, they open your lungs.


At my grandparent’s house,

dust never settles into the lines.

The smoke ashes never make it beyond the garage.


But when that house is empty it sounds like screams through a pillow case.

It’s a settled sorrow,

one that longs to be danced upon.

Homemade wooden floors that are thirsty for spilled liquids

walls that yearn to be colored.


I would run circles, elated for the life within those four walls,

the china cabinet clinking along like it has a tambourine in hand,


The house emits a different energy each time I step inside.

Every time you walk in, you feel something else.

You feel the age you are, and the weight of the memories past.


That’s a grandparent’s house.


It’s heavy,

dense with the weight of knowing there will be a day

when those loved ones will be faint laughs in the back of your mind.


I’ve been prepared since age five,

“Courtney, honey, throw my ashes into this river when I die'.

I promise, grandpa

I will.




There’s the blunt love,


The absent love, the rushed love, the melancholic love,

And finally,

The hopeful love.


There are ones who deserve a poem,

ones who quaked my heart to the point of eruption.

Ones who straddled my inner weaknesses, resisted when I pulled back,

fought me like I was a man.



The blunt one had me at hello.

I kept coming back to the sugary sweet until the

Sweetness rot holes in my teeth.


Hair orange like a house on fire.

Body tall and lean like a wire.


The blunt love told me I should do some sit-ups.

So I shed layers like they were wrapping paper.

And when the summer was over,

I floated back to the east coast.


The paper I tore from my limbs and my torso

made me weak,

my bones were weak,

my heart beat more slowly.


That’s when the absent love swooped in to finish the job,

and unwrapped me bare.





The absent love,


makes you feel like

a rarely used tea kettle

in grandma’s china cabinet.


When you are taken out,

it’s for special occasions and under small


He uses all the tea

then sets you back on the white linen.


You feel exposed when you are on the table

the chandelier peering down on you,



But when you are tucked away, no one bats an eye.




The rushed love,


makes you feel whole before you

feel it in yourself.


He’s a rental car,

you have the steering wheel,

you feel free for a moment,

maybe weeks or months,

but then,

your vacation ends and you go back to reality.


You know you wouldn’t be able to afford that car if you hadn’t rented,

but you wouldn’t want to afford it.


It’s too high maintenance.

The brakes need to be serviced every three months,

And anyway, the status you felt was feigned.




The melancholic love

is really not much to mention.


it’s the boat anchor,

as you float lonely out at sea.


But there’s no water,

and you aren’t a boat.




The hopeful love,


Is one I’ve found

lays you easy

on beach sand.

You don’t have to worry about sunburn

because the hopeful love

gives you SPF that

quenches and protects your



You can even fall asleep

on that hot sand.

You won’t stay up worrying

where that hopeful love is.   He won’t

disappear into the ocean,

he won’t leave you lying there

vulnerable and open.


And you realize the decision was that simple all along.

11 thoughts on “Poetry #2 – Courtney Kistner

  1. Benjamin Hayward

    The Longing in everything- At first I thought it was about drugs because of the lines and smoke. After reading the poem, gotta say I can smell the old people dust.
    There’s the blunt love- Apparently this is related to the grandpa comment on cannabis? I like how you put this together.
    The absent love- Reminds me of Ms. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
    The rushed love- You captured what dating and one night stands are. I can relate.
    The hopeful love- That sunblock of love is only good for 3 years, then it needs to be reapplied.

  2. Kelsey

    I liked the imagery you used, especially in the last poem. Comparing love to SPF was cute and made me laugh a bit too! Your first poem spoke more to me, it reminded me of my childhood memories at my grandma’s house and it was easy to see that many different people would be able to relate to it!

  3. Lilia Lundquist

    These are really beautiful, and I feel for anyone who has experienced any romantic relationship they are relatable. They are neither sad nor particularly upbeat, but they are filled with some emotion I cant quite put my finger on. I enjoyed reading these, I considered the blunt love to be my favorite. I could envision a somewhat unhealthy relationship and I thought you described the outcome appropriately.

  4. Shana Waring

    Your opening poem drew illustrations and memories. There was an easy correlation to be made which offered a feeling of the poem being written just for me. I loved your choice of progression from the first poem to the last. The longing and heartache to love. This was an enjoyable and relatable poetry pack, thank you for sharing.

  5. Tometria Jackson

    Your poetry collection was like examining the different facets of love throughout the lifespan. I like how you stayed with the same theme throughout your collection and used examples that one wouldn’t necessarily equate with the emotion of love. I thought you showed its melancholic side in ‘The Longing in Everything’ and ‘The Absent Love’, but I had difficulty understanding your imagery in ” There’s the Blunt Love’.

  6. nmfleming

    I really liked how each of your poems had a common theme. The first and last poem are my all time favorites, I absolutely love the imagery that is in them. “But when that house is empty it sounds like screams through a pillowcase.” This is my favorite line from the poem Longing in Everything, I think that is an interesting way to describe how an empty house sounds like. I love how you compare hopeful love to the sunscreen while I was reading it I was able to see someone peacefully laying on the beach not worrying about getting sunburnt, very creative.

  7. Delaney E Reece

    I can tell from how you have written all of these that they come from very personal ideas and experiences. I felt that most of all in the poem about a grandparents house, although I understood there was a deep connection for you, I could not find a place to attach my own experiences and could not really enjoy or understand as a result. I think small changes in wording could create more emotion in a reader but it is very close.
    In addition, the poems about love, as I read them I found myself taking out words that didn’t feel like they quite fit. in those cases, I think they need to be read aloud again to adjust some of the rhyme and wording as well.

  8. Angela Rodriguez


    I really love how you phrase your words and how everything flows in each of these poems. I really liked each of these poems but my favorites were “The Longing in Everything” and “Absent Love.” In “The Longing in Everything,” I was able to imagine myself in my childhood home wandering around in the clutter and dust. I also loved that your poems had a theme with love. Really great job Courtney.

  9. Brenden Couch

    I enjoyed the variety of the poems, the family members (grandma and grandpa) as well as the inclusion of boats and cars in the subjects. Poetry when done well, is something we can all relate to. The strongest memories that we can evoke in others often come from the strongest memories we have and those often have family in them.

  10. Kait

    I really like how your poems all tie together in the theme. The way you wrote made me feel the feelings in your poem, it had me absorbed to know more. All of your descriptions were very beautiful and graceful!


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