The Girls Gone Up in Smoke

Iliana Rocha

         Ashley Freeman, Lauria Bible

What’s the alternative for starting with I remember . . .? It’s right now, right now. I worry I write the same thing over & over, trying to solve a riddle about the body, generating nothing but a poor approximation. Darlings, I want to find you in Oklahoma’s rubble, but time has outsmarted us again, as I write the shadows & monochrome back into Welch, told no over & over again in my own handwriting. Language should be better than this, & I say language because I’ve given up on us. There’s got to be a better way of moving from one idea to another other than I remember. Memory is the opposite route homeward — memory, home’s autopsy report. The skeletal remains were the moment after the shotgun, the moment before too. Girls nowhere to be found but in memory, so I suppose I remember is good for something, for when we stretch absence to its margins. When we try fooling our inner saboteurs by building our faults away from history. Earthquakes in Oklahoma have increased from 41 in 2010 to 888 in 2015, but otherwise, the ground’s swollen lips keep silent. I tell the earth, Kiss them for me.


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