Artwork > Poetry


Who shall measure the heat and violence of a poet's heart
when caught and tangled in a woman's body?
― Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own"

Come summer, Mama's home
and all shoes are off.
She sets our roving borders
according to risk
and then she sets us free—

west to the tracks
and east to deep creek,
no crossing blind highway
of course, and No one
goes past Jubilee's.

I'm too skinny, but I'm fast
and I hate to be asked
where I'm going, escaping
on my spider's legs across
the blistering blacktop,

cutting my un-calloused soles
on the rocks to the woods—
dense sentries of loblolly pines
with a thousand thin fingers
to point. Their raw resin

singes my hair—its hot scent
hangs in the piney lunes
I squeeze through,
lugging smuggled volumes
of saved-up-for sonnets

and a column of crispy saltines.
Into the shaded quiet, unseen
insects clicking—private
orchestra of the understory,
invisible witness

to my hidden weather.
Alone in the family
of the fallen cones, I lay
my circle of their dark blunt
teeth, their emptied skin

paused on my palm.
Let them keep their lion’s share
of light—these are my scattered
shards, falling all around me
like spells. I read until

the twilight echo of Mama's
car horn calls us home.
The tiny flare of her
lit cigarette draws its slow arc
in the darkening driveway.