Overlook Kentucky

By RACHEL DANIELLE PETERSON

Dayton, Ohio 1984
Sie reinigen sich mit Feuer.
“They cleanse themselves with fire.”
 
Sometimes, it turns up ta Mama in polyester,
Those invisibles then or otherwise who kin
read her face, mine. Him, callin’ fer Yvonne.
 
Hey Yvonne! The memoree of some stranger
his shoulder’s shadow plunges inta our place:
thunk, thunk. Run! Mother’s vowels pierce haze.
 
Mother, can we distil the pink threads, fabric,
black ball cap, the odor of Bud Light, fills the door
she walks through, dust, Mamma. Dust is all we is
 
the knock leads inta porch, cement on bare feet,
only a stuffed Bambi knows lips open in prayer
ta a vengeful gawd while another immaculate sun spills
 
towards another dawn. Somehow, this small pulse
will tense up quite at any doctor too too close ‘ta throat,
toes, all me then blurree, before he gives me paired spectacles.
 
Whut will linger on, or be charred like barbecue,
tastes I still savor? Wracked on coals, memorees remind us
of shame an’ need. Seen, unseen, even gloree can sting.
 

Rachel Danielle Peterson was born in Harlan, Kentucky. She holds an MA in religious studies as well as an MFA in poetry. Peterson is a contributing editor at Poets’ Quarterly, a member of VIDA, and a Vermont Studio Center Residency Fellow. She is also a teacher, writer, and speaker who has traveled around most of the United States as well as the world. Her work has been featured in Arsenic Lobster, The Common, Front Porch, Her Royal Majesty, Literary Imagination, The Inspirer, The Los Angeles Review, Midwestern Gothic, Revolver, Upstart, and elsewhere. A Girl’s a Gun, her first book of poetry, was selected for the 2017 University Press of Kentucky’s New Poetry and Prose Series, judged by Lisa Williams, and was published last November.
 
[Purchase Issue 16 here.]

Overlook Kentucky

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