Back to Issue Eleven.




is silk and velvet, redbuds and forsythia,
lace-white pear trees backlit

in a streetlamp’s planetary glow—
a grinning dog chasing cars in tall grass

like gold tassels—some fool
burning wet green wood in the near

distance, the rising smoke with a bad
smell that creates no heat, no clear

purpose—how I no longer feel out-of-love
but simply not-loving. I established

this pattern years ago. For one month
I believe I can be someone’s dream

girl, falling for someone’s charm
like a migrating bird—the bright flicker

of feathers, the rare trill threading
the dogwoods—then gone. I’m down

on my luck again, pissing off every
man around. You can call me jaded—

it fits me like a dress that’s so tight
I can’t properly sit down. Every woman

must come to a crossroads. I fulfill
no one’s dream so therefore I am

everyone’s foe. Oh, charmer—
I have learned your bright alphabet

of night-blooming flowers. There
will always be dirt in your nails

and smoke on your breath. There
will always be smoke in the trees.


Anne Barngrover is author of Yell Hound Blues (Shipwreckt Books, 2013) and co-author with Avni Vyas of the chapbook Candy in Our Brains (CutBank, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Mid-American Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, and others. She earned her M.F.A at Florida State University and is currently a Ph.D. student in Poetry at University of Missouri.