The men in my town made their own wood out of gunpowder. Bones were the wood. I was the bone they most wanted to string. Disobedience was expected, so we excelled at being the wood. Mine Brazilian cherry, or a fine replica. Someone watched a show about unnatural habitats. The bone did not watch anyone for long. A hawk descended upon a piece of wood in the river, thinking it was a muskrat, or somebody’s thigh bone. I knew it was only an old buckshot pheasant pretending to be an ancient book in vellum. The television blurred into a commercial. A man next door hacked something in two. What it was didn’t matter. We were all still bone, and waiting for the right sort of rope.
Elegy with Flickering Lights
Something like arrested for solicitation, like the underbelly of a boat that nobody saw for what it was. We pretended an escape hatch. Her yard had so many chickens it was ridiculous and so were we. Somehow the marbles became a commodity worth more than glass. We wore old-fashioned sleeves and dirty knee socks. She drew all over her mattress with red marker. In ten years we’d both have the right touch for something. It was inevitable. Our dresses would haunt one man’s closet, and then another. I was always the one mouthing off, getting into whatever car opened its door. Windows issuing cologne that smelled like cherry disinfectant. Halfway through the night we’d swap wigs and how that would shake everything up. Once we watched a car fly off the overpass and crash onto a highway. All I remember was how the horn blared all the way down. Lights in the gas station flickered for the shortest second on record. Then the cash register rang. The door closed, and I never saw her again.
-- Mary Biddinger is the author of three collections of poetry: Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), the chapbook Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2012), and co-editor of one volume of criticism: The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Devil’s Lake, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, and Puerto del Sol. She teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Akron/NEOMFA, and edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.