- POETRY -

BACK COUNTRY

Emily Holland

ISSUE THIRTEEN | FALL 2019

Sometimes our bodies want to belong

to somewhere else. The barbed wire here

 

wraps itself around your wrists, each turn

a tightening. Drops of blood decorate 

 

your arms and oh, how they glisten 

in the Carolina heat. Then rust. Then

 

fall away. You see, the body and all its parts

wants to leave, but it can’t without

 

leaving bits behind. I grab 

a chunk of cornbread out the door, save it 

 

for a later that I’ll know. And I walk

away, watching the ground go from grass 

 

to mulch to untended underbrush. Shoving

the crumbs in my mouth, I crave a glass

 

of milk. But it’s not here in the woods. The wire 

starts its slow creep through the poison oak

 

vines. Swallowing is painful but sweet

and I think, yes, this was the right time,

 

it shouldn’t be saved any longer. This 

is as far as the body is meant to go.

Emily Holland is a lesbian poet whose work can be seen in publications including bedfellows, Wussy, Screen Door Review, and FOLIO. Her debut chapbook of poems, Lineage, was released August 2019 from dancing girl press.  

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