I smeared kohl on my eyes
and wore a men’s flannel 


too small for my father.
I stumbled down roads 


linked arm-in-arm with
friendless, pining men,


and when we untethered
a balloon to nowhere


it was over, and over
before that line: I think


I’ll miss you most of all.
I am lifelike, covered


in crows’ feet, in corn
but in love with poppies


that felled my body once
before. In love with men


who say home is empty
but here is a lemon-drop


place that keeps taking 
you back. Set me on fire,


I’ll laugh. I won’t scream 
if you don’t put me out. 


Cover art: “Installation Detail 1” by Siri Stensberg

Emily Kingery

Emily Kingery’s work appears widely in journals, including Birdcoat Quarterly, GASHER, Midwest Review, New Ohio Review, Plainsongs, and Sidereal, among others. She has been several times a chapbook finalist as well as the recipient of honors and awards in both poetry and prose at Eastern Iowa Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Midway Journal, Quarter After Eight, and Small Orange. She teaches English at a small university in Iowa and serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community (mwcqc.org).

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