These two little girls are naked in the sun. One stands in the galvanized steel washtub, pouring water from a jug onto her sister’s shoulders. (They must be sisters: look at their ease with each other, and their similarly tangled curly hair.) The younger sister is crouched, bowing her head, allowing the water to flow over her skin. It is summer (of course). ...
In the center of the ring, you balance
a blue-skirted rider, her ruffled edge
the audience, blinking in a gust of lights.
Your trainer has taught you to bear barebacked,
mane a cirrus trail feathered by exhales. ...
Later that morning after classes were cancelled,
I crossed the river, beneath a perfect sky,
going home to you.
We didn’t think that Al-Qaeda would reach us
in this college town,
this pin that the angels danced on. ...
Even at four in the morning,
the crescent moon makes it so;
hanging low enough to touch. I pretend
not to have heard the trash tip over,
a bottle crash, a creaky gate swing
some way, but I know not which. ...
last night the moon
drove me home
wheeled up the sky
grinning orange ...
Struggle and splash
drag my eyes to the lakeshore.
Wing in water, log in lake ...
Budapest formed when Buda (on the west bank of the Danube) joined Pest (on the east bank of the Danube). At least this is what I learned from the dictionary when I highlighted Budapest in this story I’m reading by Jorge Luis Borges. It’s a story about an imaginary country. Actually it’s a story about an encyclopedia article about an imaginary country. It’s a fiction about nonfiction about fiction. I had no idea Budapest was in Hungary—it sounds rather Persian to me—or Turkish. It sounds rather fictional. It sounds no more real than Uqbar—but the Danube I know. Definitely in Europe. And blue (because Strauss tells me so). Geography is not really my forté. I think it might have something to do with my traumatically confusing experience in 8th grade history class. All year long I pedantically labeled blank maps of mysterious countries—I assumed they were real—but not once did I see these countries in the context of the globe. In short, I had no idea where they were. I had no idea where they were in relation to me. Nobody gave me a bridge, a door, a way in. I assume Budapest has a few stable bridges—so people can get from Buda to Pest. It’s all so very simple. Anyway, I found myself empathetic when Bridget Jones was dumped by that wonky man—I don’t remember his name?—Daniel?—because she doesn’t know where Germany is. I mean Bridget has enough on her plate with losing 15 lbs. Why should she be required to pinpoint a country with no relationship to her?
- Nettie Farris
Nettie Farris is the author of Communion (Accents Publishing, 2013), Fat Crayons (Finishing Line Press, 2015), The Wendy Bird Poems (dancing girl press, 2016), and the micro-chapbook Story (Origami Poems Project, 2016). She also writes book reviews and the Spotlight on a Press feature for Blue Lyra Review.
I don’t feel like I’m leaving the place. I feel the place is leaving me. We want to help countries, but we don't want to be stuck in their conflicts forever. The window of opportunity to escape ...
Name: DJ Hill
Role at Red Bird: Poetry Editor
Name: Sean Hanson
Role at Red Bird: Publishing Intern