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Peach Pits

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originally published 2010

 

A girl is found by the highway

two towns over from ours. If her hair

was knotted with

 

brown blood and thorns the

police report didn't say. I killed a

butterfly and rubbed the color from its wings, the saddest shade

 

 

of magenta I've ever touched,

and I'm thinking of the tiniest grass cuts

on my shins and mud beneath my nails

 

and the top of the world after dark--

the highest hill in town where we swear, with

held breaths, that a bus driver drove

 

a school bus full of weeping, screaming, or, maybe, laughing children

off the cliff. Say, with held breaths, listen

for their laughter on the leaves

 

of trees we will never learn the names of.

The leaves are changing and I name

this season Orange.

 

Remember what they say about hindsight.

The girl they found regrets not

wearing clean underwear that day

 

and peeking when they kissed

for the first time in the linen closet.

Only because he opened his eyes, too.

 

Her mother doesn't stop crying

for three weeks--

until she starts to laugh.

 

You have to understand,

I killed the butterfly because I thought

it was a moth.

 

Or, I didn't know it would die

so soon.

I carried it into the house

 

and by the kitchen, it was dead.

I wanted to lick the dust from its wings, but

you came inside

 

and I forgot.

I have also forgotten about the girl when I'm driving down highway five

and see a cross on the side of the road;

 

got out of the car and shut my eyes

and laid down in the dirt.

The cross of flowers looked blurred, like

 

fireworks, when I peeked through matted

eyelashes. The worst case of child

abuse known: the girl

 

bit through her own lip

to stand the pain. I bite down on my lip 'til blood.

I wake to a police officer

 

dusting dirt from my hair.

Homebound, I remember the way the butterfly

struggled against my hand,

 

wings like a heartbeat in my closed palm, like a

seizure, a rain dance, a swerving bus and its

passengers praying.

 

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is a very good poem. The way you take the metaphor of the children on the bus at the beginning and use it in the end is wonderful. And the imagery bleeds off the page---or screen---very well. I think a good poem should do many things, not...

This is a very good poem. The way you take the metaphor of the children on the bus at the beginning and use it in the end is wonderful. And the imagery bleeds off the page---or screen---very well. I think a good poem should do many things, not the least of which make you feel as if you've lived or felt the same as what your reading. It should almost make you feel uncomfortable. Well done.

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Brandon_Hennen
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is what good poetry is made of.

Joshua Hennen
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

what does this story have to do with "peach pits" ? Very depressing in a "Bonny and Clyde" kind of way.

Naph.Nina
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