Each night the mother carries the book
in her palm like an empty tray,
her daughter wrapped in a blanket
like a loaf of fresh bread. They return
to a realization thick as honey.
The young girl knows
just when to gasp, to bury her face
in her mother’s shoulder. Not again.
Skipping along an uneven path
through dark woods, small hands
clutching a picnic basket, she doesn’t
ever think what someone may want of her,
who, at this moment, is licking his lips
in disguised desire, pretending
a different kind of hunger.
This will remain the girl’s favorite story.
A fairy tale. The book’s gold spine gleaming
like a candy wrapper.
A whole page that reads: The end.
Amy Ash has an MFA from New Mexico State University and PhD in literature and creative
writing from the University of Kansas. A Pushcart nominee and the recipient of an Academy of
American Poets prize, her work has been published in various journals and anthologies,
including Mid-American Review, Harpur Palate, Salamander, Prick of the Spindle, 100 Word
Story, and The Best of Kore Press 2012. The Open Mouth of the Vase, selected by Charles
Harper Webb for the Cider Press Review Book Award, is her first full-length collection. She
teaches creative writing and literature at Indiana State University.
Melanie Jordan‘s chapbook, Ghost Season, is available from Ropewalk Press; her work has been published in the Iowa Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Southeast, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Southeast Review, and others. She studied Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before receiving her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her doctorate from the University of Houston. She currently teaches Creative Writing, literature, and composition at the University of West Georgia. Her debut collection, Hallelujah for the Ghosties, was published by Sundress in 2015.