Back to Issue Eleven.

THE MONTH AFTER THE CRUELEST MONTH

BY ANNE BARNGROVER
 

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.

 

 

Ross 10

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.

More by Anne Barngrover:
"Salt Creek, Missouri," Poetry, Issue Eleven.