Cultivation by Anna Knowles

We fry tomatoes and drink liquor, sleep
with smoke in our eyes and this goes on forever
until the humidity comes, scented and bitter.
On and on with dawn’s open porch—

the way hands held against the sun
glow the muscle within red. On with yellow parlors
that preach manners, posture and big hair.
Tonight, we rehearse the walk home

not taking in count the number of crushed
azaleas in sight, around our ankles, how
they’d arch themselves like a toxic signature.
A train bends through their path, alongside,

my sister and I paw up and down
proving bondage to motion. The things we stole
from Shell—that sparked-out keychain, Louisville,
a town hard to brochure, jingles from her pocket

into the riverbed and we sink deep in the mud
like weeds or crazy looking fish with red lips
back and forth, then falling. Wild and in detail.
With water-weighted hair we nail a prayer

into the tracks, a prayer for grace, a lightless thrall.
A kiss from this woman means forgetting, means
a bone-root grows toward the Ohio in the shape
of the fleur, the way the “r” can never sever

from the throat or how upside down
it’s the anchor that keeps her from leaving.


About Anna Knowles