Talk dirt to me. Tell how bluestem roots
near thirty feet. How echinacea saves the bees.
I ogle dandelions. Have I told you the things
they can do to a body? Will you truss my
grain mill to my bike? Solar our home & I’ll
be hot to the touch. Just burning up.
Solve the riddle of the polar ice & I’ll spread
like a starfish, though the starfish
are dying in droves. They’re tearing
their arms off. Did you hear? I’ve no mind
for sonnets, no mind for making another
child when even the Mississippi
is gobbling its own plain. I don’t know
what my safe word is. The closest I can get
is native. Maybe river. Maybe rain.
Aubrey Ryan’s work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Ant-, Best New Poets, El Aleph, Phantom Limb, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. Her poems have received awards from The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Consequence Magazine, Booth Journal, and Tupelo Press, and have been nominated for three Pushcart prizes. Aubrey is the Writer in Residence at the Midwest Writing Center in Iowa where she lives with her husband and small son.