Erika Meitner
Elegy with Lo-Fi Selfie

I am thinking of you while riding shotgun past the Celanese Plant
at dusk mid-December this sprawling factory on the New River

the world’s largest producer of cellulose acetate tow used in
cigarette filters lit by sodium vapor the plant glows orange-

tipped the smokestacks smoking like us on the stoops & curbs
of Brooklyn years ago is the most cliché way to turn back time

in a poem those Marlboro filters ringed with my lipstick yellowed
with our inhales we’d pass one back & forth some nights I hold

my phone to my face & its light makes me glow blue as a specter
or a television in the neighbor’s window I think of you too when

on my way home I pull in to the Kroger to look again at my phone
in the dark this lit thing in my hand pulsing you are not on the other

end you’ve been dead for years died before phones could take photos
check emails connect us to networks of what I am not the only one

sitting quietly in my car as the moon shifts behind the ABC the Great
Clips eclipses half the lot when me & another woman are swallowed

by the automatic doors then try to separate two half-size carts because
neither of us wants a giant wagon to shudder us down the aisles but

we can’t pull them apart then I realize I’ve left the house in leggings
as pants since she’s in them too & there’s my ass visible I think it’s

still tight I have no point of reference I’m over forty but the cashier
cards me anyway for wine says you could be my mom says you look

so young I look so young there’s a millennial in the Cereal aisle who’s
maybe eyeing me & another guy shopping in leg gaiters & crampons

even though we only got four inches of soft powder this morning which
melted quick since this is the South the supermarkets are out of milk

I want to tell you about the crampon guy you’d laugh so hard because
in college remember New Hampshire winters some days our scarves

welded to our lips froze to our cheeks with just an inhale’s vapor
your breath your breath is gone & now I want to take a picture

of my ass to send to you because I think you’d think it was hilarious
or sexy or possibly both but I can’t reach my ass & you’re dead &

if I tried to take a sexy selfie I’d probably just look like a body they
find in a dumpster on an episode of Law & Order SVU I’m still sitting

in my car looking at my camera flipped around to mirror my own face
made lo-fi static by a filter the New River is one of the five oldest rivers

in the world but no one who doesn’t live here knows this I live here
& I am stuck in my car thinking of you somewhere, Chris, I am taking

this snapshot & posting it on Instagram I am inhaling slightly
parting my lips moistening them then touching my finger

to the button & it clicks & clicks

Erika Meitner is the author of four books of poems, including Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry series winner, and Copia (BOA Editions, 2014). She is currently an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she directs the MFA program in Creative Writing. You can find out more, here: