A Relief and a Horror

We’re better equipped now than perhaps ever before to empathize with and examine how Jackson conveys the Blackwoods’ sense of isolation, both social and physical, from their community.

Blow

Imagine her saying, as she settles, “Good God, Ben, my constant pessimist. Give it a rest. I’m not here to fry.” And imagine a pebble loosened from the clifftop, falling. Impacting her skull. There would be damage.

Boba Talk

You bump into White Boy on a parched, irreverent Wednesday morning, power-walking your way to line up for the three hour commute at 6 AM, and too loud he announces, I am in love with your country.

Strangled

I need to speak now; he’s expecting it. Waiting for an answer. Summoning all my energy, I push the air from my lungs, forcing it over the golf ball wedged in my throat.

Election

When I first saw that my mother was running for mayor I was in the grocery store. It was the morning and I wasn’t doing too well and the check-out girl was wearing this big blue pin with my mother’s big white face on it.

Forbidden Birth

I found you bitty in a snap pea, plucked you out and swallowed you whole, / rivered your body through my insides and grew it quietly. What bad men? we say.

The Moon at Noontime

Stuck in the basement where the TV was, out of Mom’s way, I’d pinch the well-timed edge and prolong the pull-away, the cling of flesh where the glue most adhered, the release, the skin’s snap back to itself.

Did the Water

The girls climb down under the bridge. Below them, the river is dark and still, a surface so solid it almost doesn’t look like it could drown you.