by Benjamin Carson
It was in the old barn, she said, two miles south of Lovett’s Crossing,
where her cousin Leroy, that late Sunday afternoon, pushed her down,
put his fingers to her lips and hissed, this is what God wants. Swallows
nested in the rafters—will they sing of this?—mice, like her fists, burrowed
in the hay. Somewhere, far off, a train whistle blew, and the odor of sweetgrass
mingled with blood and snot. It was the moment my grandmother knew she’d
leave this place, not just this old barn, two miles south of Lovett’s Crossing,
but this land they call Iowa. She’d find the ocean, live in its depth. I’ll rest
at the bottom, she told herself, as the dust kicked up around her, and,
in the absence of words, learn the language of water, one inhalation at a time.
Benjamin D. Carson lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts. His creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in many literary publications, including Rumble Fish Quarterly, New Plains Review, Yellow Medicine Review, and Prometheus Dreaming. His chapbook We Give Birth to Light: Poems was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021.