I’m Gonna be a Country Girl Again, by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

Summer has come
in waves of pollen
and exhaust

heart-cut rhinestones
in the eyes
of velvet fawns
hidden in the shade
of wood geranium
and mandrake

snapping turtle
with her razor beak
in the sandbox

behind the house
your father built.

I remember her children emerging, palm-sized and ancient
from torn leather shells

and nests of garter snakes by the woodpile
erupting into grass
that grazed our skinned knees

and inchworms hanging
on silver threads
in the berry thicket
where we hid, laughing.

You told me I got too much love
to give it all to just one person

that dead July after we both dropped out
and the news said they found
the murder weapon
buried in the lot
just down the road.

When I drove down Highway 7 last
I saw her,
the doe with her toast-colored fur
laid among purple asters
in the ditch

pink insulation
from torn seams.

I think I learned the biggest thing
from her:
that this is what kills
this disconnect

headlights screeching past you
so close sometimes
you feel their heat on your face

another lane paved
every year
between you
and everything you need
to keep on living

and Buffy Sainte-Marie
on the radio, singing

something about this last acre
of green

someplace to rest
for a while, at least
before that next mad sprint
across the asphalt.


Kelly Rose Pflug-Back is a writer, textile artist, and occasional educator/instructor. Their fiction, poetry, and journalism have appeared in places like the Toronto Star, Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, Briarpatch, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, and many others. Their first full-length book of poems, The Hammer of Witches, was published with Caitlin Press/Dagger Editions in 2020. Originally from rural Ontario, they currently reside on Dish With One Spoon territory.

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