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

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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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