The power saws of my childhood

sneak into the wind, great whirling


motors spitting dust, soft

and clinging to the hair of my arms,


transforming me from child

to Nordic beast, wild curls of blonde


lumber blurring my edges.

My father’s leather-pouched belt


hovers by my ear, smelling of nails

and sweat, and the chalk of a snapped line


hangs in the long air behind me, marking

the path from here to the place


where I once placed fallen screws

in a blade-scarred hand, certain

what I offered

was needed.


Alice Pettway

Alice Pettway’s work has appeared in over 30 print and online journals, including The Bitter Oleander, The Connecticut Review, Folio, Lullwater Review, Keyhole, and WomenArts Quarterly. Her chapbook, Barbed Wire and Bedclothes was published by Spire Press in 2009, and her full-length collection, The Time of Hunger | O Tempo de Chuva, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Pettway is a former Lily Peter fellow, Raymond L. Barnes Poetry Award winner, and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, she lives and writes in Bogotá, Colombia.

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