TINDER IN A TIME OF BURNING
I’m eight at the beginning, and it’s always the beginning:
somewhere, silos daisy-ringed
with guards. One night, my father comes home with the father
from the next farm down the road,
and they sit. Dark cups and the other man’s smoke. Shoulders
like the haunches of huge, white bulls.
My mother’s fears: government men and babies gone breech;
the pigs my father lets roam in the woods,
so in official records there are no pigs; the joy in his voice as he
calls them home is a flare gun, is a circus
cannon. The men fear someday knowing the sound of women
dying. They hunch across our lazy susan, voices
a hum of tones I’d hear behind my parent’s bedroom door: a low,
old language, and the next day, changed.
My mother with her face a blaze of morning. My father, quiet:
the world. The world, devoured.
Aubrey Ryan‘s work has appeared recently in Squat Birth Journal, Anti-, DIAGRAM, Cellpoems, Best New Poets 2011, and the forthcoming Tupelo Press erotic poetry anthology. She is a two time Pushcart Prize nominee and the winner of the 2012 Booth Poetry Prize. Aubrey lives on the prairie with her husband and their toddling son.