Soldier for a lost cause, brute, mute woman
written out of my own story, I’ve been trying
to cast a searchlight over swamp-woods & parasitic ash
back to my beginning, that girlhood—
kite-wisp clouded by gun salutes & blackbirds
tearing out from under the hickories
all those fine August mornings so temporary
so gold-ringed by heat haze & where is that witch girl
unafraid of anything, flea-spangled little yard rat, runt
of no litter, queen, girl who wouldn’t let a boy hit her,
girl refusing to be It in tag, pulling that fox hide
heavy around her like a flag? Let me look at her.
Tell her on my honor, I will set the wedding dress on fire
when I’m good & ready or she can bury me in it.
From Brute by Emily Skaja. Copyright © 2019 by Emily Skaja. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.
Emily Skaja's debut poetry collection, Brute, was selected by Joy Harjo as the winner of the 2018 Walt Whitman Award, given by the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2019-04-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/brute-strength