Jul/Aug 2008 spotlight


by LeeAnn Pickrell



I inhale
fall in burnt leaves
          I conceive fall
in the children upstairs
as they build an aquarium for
          their snake Flash

Thomas holds up the net bag
against amber twilight—
a shade with an arrow-shaped head
darts toward me     Students

sling their backpacks over
          their shoulders     At the store
mounds of apples—crunch—
bags of new potatoes
(The others aren't?)

I want
to burrow into a hill of crimson leaves
          I hunger
for pinto beans
the smell of barley     As I dig

in my blue cardboard box of
wool sweaters, I drown
in the mothball smell
But I live in Oakland

It's August
The fog will draw back
          the sun reappear
In February the grass will be green

I moved here from Texas
I tunneled a hole through dirt
as a child digs for China
          in the sandbox     As dirt

became sand, finely ground, then thickened to
dehydrated brown-black clods, I traced
an impression of my silhouette—
          eyebrows groping toward
the flat nose     From outside in

eucalyptus trees shed their bark
reveal an inner layer of skin


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