Kirby Knowlton

on rifling through the drawers of my neighbor, who is gone for the weekend

i remember rainier days than the ones
we get now spent in her backyard,
grinding clovers to tint rocks green,

watching chalk dust rivers find
shelter between cracked brick.
jealousy was a monster i didn’t yet

know how to name, but even the
way she could peel bread crust off
in one piece reminded me of a

caterpillar’s patient wait to transform
& i was a chick pecking with a beak
still only halfway firm, eggshell

littering the ground like the snow
we wouldn’t see for years. we had
always said that when it came down

we would help melt it together, as
if our exhalations of breath alone
could have risen mercury, but we

never tested the theory. maybe i
meddle now instead of asking what
happened, dig through revlon tubes

to unearth the lipsmackers i once wanted.
it’s not my job to be the archaeologist
who tracks the progression of her bra

size, to unfold notes from her gym class,
but fossils are easier to handle than
words & i’m running out of time.

gone to seed

the summer it stopped raining,
we ate things we weren’t supposed to.
as the grass began to die in patches,
we turned to pica like a last prayer.

we tried so hard to be different,
knew the taste of acorns, pencil
shavings, friendship’s fading days.

when you got sick with cicada
shell i held your hair back in the
yard, knowing that you would
pretend it never happened.

one night i touched to your lips a
watermelon seed, an almost kiss to
pocket for days when you were most
afraid of growing a garden belly.

when the rain finally came, i hoped the
fruit in your stomach would grow to be
one we couldn’t name, something new
to wet our grasses again, to keep what
roots remained alive.