Poems

“I read the line over and over / as if I might discern / the little fires set / the flames of an idea licking the page”

“Illumination,” Natasha Trethewey

In Appalachia, Living a Spectacle

In Appalachia, Living a Spectacle

We heard that the war was coming. We heard we were the victims & we were the perpetrators & we were the problem & we were the future. We heard a television man was coming with his camera & his vest & his eyes squinting against a hatless skyglare....
Etymology of Denial

Etymology of Denial

Not, in fact, a river wedgedthrough Africa, but instead a hamletin Northwest Ohio. The mayor speaksGerman, as does the teacher, and the priestand the children, and even the Moroccanwho moved in the previous year. Alleyways do not exist in Denial: you’re either a...
The Happening

The Happening

My mother would drive us to the Laundromaton Saturday mornings. I’d sit in the backof her old green Volvobetween baskets of blue, yellow, and pink.She’d sing “Where Did Our Love Go”with Diana Ross and The Supremes on the radio.We’d park under the washed-out sign. This...
fire teaches best

fire teaches best

—a haibun after supper she sends us out to play in the yard & get our ya-yas out, one last hurrah of dirty bare feet & stinky little girl before bathtime, then storytime, then bedtime. Sissy & I had drippy popsicles & we ran to the farthest edge of the...
“Lessons in Mining” & “Bonfires”

“Lessons in Mining” & “Bonfires”

“Lessons in Mining” “Redneck referred to the red bandanas that West Virginia miners wore around their necks.” –Chuck Keeney, WV Mine Wars Museum. In my Appalachian middle school, the teachers transformed classrooms into a coal mining town. The...
Suspect

Suspect

A TSA agent lifts your nursling from your arms. Flagged, he says. Just a baby, you say.   The white man behind you navy tie, slightly loosened who’d just been cooing at your little one— fiddles with the cuff of his starched shirt steps around you feeds his briefcase...