Emily Denton, from Green Is Blue Plus Yellow, 2017

What is the sound of a child remembering herself? Dry-salt
of my past, retrieval of my edges: am I finally at the top

of a long gravel driveway? Is my father out again
with his articulate shovel and dump-truck? My mother

fixing the brown box mashed potatoes. Me in plaids,
florals, prints. There are cows across the street.

I stand beneath a cumulus cloud—feeling no joy,
no deliverance. I stare ahead, a chilly blonde speck

with pointy elbows and milk teeth. Did I know then that
my parents dragged their warm bellies over the earth to feed me?

Did I know that my father buried a bottle of whiskey
in the backyard? My mother: an iris bulb in the freezer.

I’m not them I tell myself. I’m not them. The silver bodies
of our sprinklers emerge and contort. They scream

from every blowhole. See, this is the sound of my father
returning from the fields, barreling his dump-truck down

that gravel driveway—a stunt, like Jesus swinging his hips.
Producing a penny from behind my ear.


Megan Denton Ray