into ribbons—a landscape of swaying grasses, clover,
oak, and pine joining the dance. Even the berries
bob their heads on branchy necks, sparrows
catching them in pose, plucking shiny bodies, flying
away to feed their futures tucked into gutters
lining the roof of grandma and grandpa’s house.
We spin around—her stuttering feet playing the earth
like a typewriter to keep up with her feral mind
where fiction whirls out of real life—the breeze
into a storm, the sun’s limbs gathered
through clouds, the scent of secrets approaching,
grandma’s laundry on a line behind the house pulling
at its seams—foxes, felines, and ferrets in nooks--
a forest and hunters treasure-laden with terrors and traps
jostling like a symphony of keys, each one
set and buried, camouflaged as roots or leaves.
A nest of tangled birch branches promising
an oracle of bugs that rollick beneath in the dark damp
dirt. But when it bites, it pulls a tongue pierced
through, one bloodied black ant kicking itself free
of saliva. All in vain. Ten legs strike the air,
the earth, the grave--click, click. Suddenly, my daughter
whoops loud and stops her twirling, falls down,
melts into the grass as grandpa teeters towards us
on one strong leg between two canes. We listen
to his laborious clap, clap—patient and frozen in place.
He smiles and shouts Don’t stop because of me!
and we smile back until he turns to tend the bushes.
I melt into the grass beside my daughter. We dance.
Kimberly is the author of White Goat Black Sheep (FLP) and her poetry has appeared in several literary journals including The 3288 Review, Temenos, Storm Cellar, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, The West Texas Literary Review, Windhover, Ruminate Magazine, Relief, RiverSedge and The Berkeley Poetry Review. She is an MFA graduate of New Engl and College, a book reviewer for NewPages, an editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose and an Assistant Professor of First-Year Writing at Michigan State University. Her writing explores trauma, sexuality, violence against women, motherhood, and displacement. To read more of her work visit kimberlyannpriest.com.