Marie Hartung || ‘Whidbey Writes’ April 2016

Posted in Literary, Whidbey Writes

April 6, 2016

Congratulations to Marie Hartung, our “Whidbey Writes” featured writer for April. We’re pleased to be able to share her work, “Return,” with you.

The purpose of “Whidbey Writes” is to encourage writers with a Whidbey connection to submit short fiction and poetry for publication in Whidbey Life Magazine, thereby giving our readers an opportunity to enjoy these creative writings. Throughout the past year, Whidbey Writes published monthly selections of short fiction and poetry online. The most popular of these entries was also published in the Fall/Winter 2015 print issue.

We publish the original work of selected winners at the beginning of each month as part of Whidbey Writes. WLM congratulates Marie and extends thanks to volunteer editors Heather Anderson, Mureall Hebert and Chris Spencer, who review submissions on Solstices and Equinoxes and pass on the work they enjoy most to Whidbey Life Magazine for publication online and in print.

This competition, originally created as a collaboration between Whidbey Life Magazine and the  Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, will now continue as part of the creative writing section of Whidbey Life Magazine.

To find out more about Whidbey Writes and the submission criteria, visit the Whidbey Writes Submission page. To see previously selected writings, visit the Whidbey Writes page here. 



By Marie Hartung 

–On Halloween in 2013, twin teenage sisters died from injuries sustained when a drunk driver, hit the car they were driving in near Coupeville, WA.


In the final moment of clear light, before the oncoming headlights diminished darkness to a simple hole in the sky, before the collision that split us and the Acura in two, before the screech of rubber fused hot to metal, I said your name. I know you heard it like a lullaby, sweet like maple syrup and all the Sunday morning pancakes we ever giggled through, Daddy telling us to hush, Mom’s smile upturned like the quarter moon sleeping. The doctors tried to ease me from my coma, but you were not beside me so I followed your dark cry into the clouds laced with zeros.

As the wind slackens, I whisper your name into tangled hollow veined in stone. I call to you: Meet me at the pond near the shortgrass hills, the one where we hunted toads in the sea fog, where damp ferns soaked the fringe of our daisy linen dresses. If you look straight through the rain of unraveling horizons, beyond the starless embroidery, you can follow the pebbles of light I’ve gathered from all the stars. In the flutter of autumn leaves like children without any sound, you’ll find me. We’ll rise together into the trees to sleep. 


Marie Hartung writes from her living room recliner in the small-ish town of Monroe, WA. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Her poetry appeared recently in SLAB, Third Wednesday, Talking River and the anthology, The Burden of Light. She loves fishing and pizza.


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