has irrigation systems like religious symbols.
Ten-pointed stars within metal circles
fit the field and hydrate the kernels.
My great-great Aunt Christine used to
make her home here. Grandma Jane
remembers her story. I imagine her impatience
at a breakfast fire slow to kindle in 1896.
When the kerosene Christine poured caught fire
and exploded, both she and her son
Vincent burned, along with his new shoes-
it was the first day of school and all.
The small town we pass through to get to
the family farm has red, white and blue
buntings. Corn stalks form a yellow tassel floor,
a few feet up in the air. When the wind blows,
the soybeans look like a lake, leafy and undulating.
Olivia Soule has an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a B.A. in English and Italian from UCLA. She has published work in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Pudding Magazine and has also participated in poetry readings. Find her here.
Kissing girls and left-hand turns.
I didn't hear the story until years later:
Maine in winter,
semester break, a prep school party, some absent
parents' rec room. And a sofa on which she
and a girlfriend, having drunk enough, decided
making out might also be fun.
Locked in their kiss, neither
noticed when the baseball star approached them, face
thunderous. Until he picked her up and slammed her
into the wall. Dislocated her left shoulder. Had to be
pulled off her. Had never dated either one of them,
So now we're back in the valley of the shadow
of youth, driving around our college town in a rental, getting
lost, going to the pay-and-graze orchard and petting
zoo, spending too much for apple cider, when
I tease her about going six miles the long way round to avoid
a left turn at the blacktop crossroads. What is it,
I say unthinking, about you and left-hand turns. I
don’t know, nothing, she says, looking both ways
again. Well, unless you count that one time.
You know, the accident. That time S---- and I
were almost killed? And I broke
my collarbone? You know, when the truck hit us.
Yeah, I say. No. I didn't
know. And now I'd like to say that something
dawned on me, however slowly; that I sat there
dumbfounded by the afternoon light, thinking
Well that explains everything, or Why didn't you tell me,
but I don't think I did. I probably just watched her
lean forward to peer delicately over the steering
wheel while I drank musky cold
cider straight from the plastic
jug, stared out at the pruned blurs of twisted black
trunks, and thought about pretty much nothing.
JSA Lowe's poems have appeared most recently in DIAGRAM, GASHER, Hobart, Salt Hill Journal, Superstition Review, Third Coast, and Versal, as well as previously in AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, and Salamander. Her chapbooks DOE and Cherry-emily were published by Particle Series Books and Dancing Girl Press. She has a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, where she currently teaches. She is the founder of Samsara Press, and she lives on Galveston Island. Find her at jsalowe.com.
Corps de Ballet
The year I turned eleven,
Miss April pulled me aside
after class. I had to work harder,
she whispered, to stand straight-backed at the barre
because I was starting to get “boobies.”
My whole body burned.
I’d begged to study,
like my friends,
at the children’s program
at the university,
with pianists and regulation tights.
Not this two-room studio off the state road
where you could also take gymnastics and tap,
and whatever it was called
to step-ball-change to “Rhythm is a Dancer”
in neon fingerless gloves,
and where teachers
used playground words.
The auditions for the program’s Nutcracker
were open – they didn’t have the numbers;
they had to let me.
I was allowed
to understudy as one of twelve preteen soldiers
dance-fighting kindergarten mice.
standing in first position
in the well-lit rehearsal studio,
I could see from every angle
the way my body disrupted
the other uniform bodies
in uniform motion.
Form off, clothes wrong, hair
in my unwashed armpits,
a swarthy interloper
in my first and final year.
The only night I made it on stage,
the other soldiers
had to tell me not to talk:
This was no recital,
Elizabeth Galoozis’s poems have appeared in Sundog Lit, RHINO Poetry, Mantis, Not Very Quiet, and Sinister Wisdom, among others. She works as a librarian and lives in southern California with her wife Michelle, cat Stella, and too many fruit trees. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram and at her website: https://sites.google.com/view/elizabethgaloozis/