Need lies near, our towel spread
over a patch of dry grass in the backyard.
I’m facedown, twelve in plastic
sunglasses. I have a stopwatch set
for thirty minutes when I’ll flip.
The sky gas blue. The heat early.
She reads aloud from a magazine:
some jeans for apples,
some for pears. How to know
if you are a bad kisser. The most
She is mean but I trust her
completely. The magazine is a ruse.
She sharpens my knife. Helps me
fasten traps. She made me—
she made me do it.
Vultures circle wide in the blue.
When I try to stand,
she knocks me out.
Hot dark behind the eye
and my thoughts unfastened
reach for me.
My sister’s face swimming
in the yard. She is saying
They revive me years later.
I don’t recognize her.
Have we met? I ask looking
around for an early shape.
I left my magazine back there,
with my knife.
Kyra Spence lives in Iowa City, IA, where she is an M.F.A. candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in New York’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology and The Visible Poetry Project.
Image: “Pax Americana” by Nicole Monroe