You will climb Rapunzel’s thick Dutch braid,
the shade and smell of wet lespedeza and bluestem hay—
the exact diameter of the twine rope you made
at Camp Turkey Creek in 1998. Your breath
is hot. Quick. Your lungs are just fist-sized pawpaws
with custard flesh, filled with a double-row of seeds
inside your chest. I know you’re running again. From
what you never looked back to see because you were
going too fast. Leaving a blood trail—like the mule deer
your uncle couldn’t track past the chokecherry tree—
with pieces of gravel stuck in the soles of your feet.
This time your dad pulled out your dangling baby teeth, twisting
them from the root to make way for the set of dog fangs.
You will snap your jaw, like the Blue Heeler
that tried to eat the popping fuse on the Fourth of July,
gums black and teeth glittering with spit and fire.
Canese Jarboe doesn’t have a coat of many colors, but she does have a pair of cowboy boots in every color. She was raised on a farm in southeastern Kansas on the cusp of the Ozarks. She is currently an MFA candidate and instructor at University of Idaho where she serves as Managing Editor for Fugue. She also founded an online ’zine that is a collaboration between visual art and poetry: www.velvet-tail.com.
Poem originally published in Handsy.