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Darlin Girl in a Field at 19 Pulling

Poetry | Spring 2022

The bones out of my fingertips 

Starting at the wrist and working my way to the nail 




I ground them with rock 

And sprinkled them in a circle on Alabama clay

Mixed with a vile of mom’s witch-hazel 

Preserved in a glass jar

Tempting your God to save me 

Because you always said you felt his presence 

Strongest under my touch and you called me holy

Those days 


I wonder if he would spare himself from the nails 

Or rather I need to believe 

I went back to the field yesterday, lost one 

Mostly ragweeds 

Save a couple daises sprinkled about 

I found my phone 

Screen intact and facing up with no unread messages 

We have run in a full circle 

Overlapping at the equator and you told me to leave it here 

When we head west 

Southern soil will need something to remember us by 

“Let them know we were here”

Now I’m here where I buried you last February 

With my spine right beside 

I’m considering a scorched earth policy 

That starts in my tongue and moves to his teeth

He told me he started having dreams 

That they crumble and fell from his mouth 

When he met me

Little pillars salting the earth and feeding the flame


He can’t ask what it means 

Or know that it might be them saying what he can’t

When he saw 

I keep your collar bone under the bed 

And dig it out to roll between my lips 

When I miss fingers being able to touch 

He felt his ribs realize I was taken from yours instead 

And my lungs ache and deflate because the earth is burning

The ragweed stinks 

And the daises make small pleas for help 

Between coughs 

That the wind carried with the dust of my bones 

Across the Georgia state line 

Because it knew what your God didn’t 

Or choose not to 

I wonder if I even wanted to believe 

Did you feel my spine curdle in your arms, lost one?

Out with month old milk for the begging strays 

The new fingers woke up this morning with his teeth

And all of his ribs 

Staring and reaching for

The Lazarus shaped love pressed beside him in bed 

As I head west 

I watched Atlanta burn, lost one

When the soldiers marched through

I fell to ashes upon ashes with it 

After you needed me for fighting 

Whatever ghosts you born knowing 

And I was born knowing to keep eyes and feet trained 

Toward blue skies and mountains alike 

Making it 3,000 miles away from the field that 

You watched me run through

Early April

9 months before the burial 

Powder in your hand as you sunk through

I finally resolved to leave you and my phone 

Because I don’t care if they remember 

My lungs beg for a healer as Atlanta’s embers burn

Red and fading 

How does it feel in your bones today, lost one?

To know that I left my spine with you 

But still completed the journey 

Our ribs returned to dirt too fast to make 

Do you feel the impact in your sternum, lost one?

As their feet march across state lines

Where the dust from my fingers leads toward crisp air 

Begging to breathe

Fuck if I ever come back to the pile of enamel left 

Where my hands use to lay on our chest 

Mine–just mine now 

Because southern earth is scorched 

And my eyebrow is singed 

As I realize the daises in the field weren’t worth saving


I still grind my bones for the damned to leave for dogs 

Mouths wet from last months milk 

And their eyes seeing beyond my divinity 

They believe 

And there are holes in his hands 

So, I let my lungs take me west, lost one 

I left your bones to rest, lost one