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Glass Jaw

Stand there at the lip of the pit, girl, slabs of concrete and weep holes,

your daddy called them. Eleven then and this house

would be your first house built for a purpose, the dream

of your mother assembled out of her desperate and split lives,

split lips after the fight, blood like a craving on your chin.

The house would make it right, pine beams mapping out a new territory of sane.

The house was built on Twin Springs,

subterranean creeks running through abandoned mines,

fault lines gathered on the topography like ruffles

on a child’s skirt. The shrink and swell clays sparkled with gold,

fool’s gold. I see you, hunched over the dirt to gather it up, collect

its promises in your gingham apron,

smocking pockets bloomed with blue smoke.

The past is connected to the present like a man’s arm to his shoulder,

the punch that breaks the jaw in pieces, the hit that leaves you speechless.

from ThrustFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Heather Derr-Smith Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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