Danielle Aquiline


All I remember of Mississippi:
an attic, green shutters, and a tonsillectomy.

The slow slurp of ma'am falling awkward
out of my mouth, a hiccup.
The splintered grain and split of breadboard,
feeding the pond as ducks cock up

their heads and squawk. Elvis'
birthplace was disappointing and dirty,
all mud and water pump, no hideaway crevice
full up with hip-shakin'. Surely

there was more than waxy magnolia
leaf, the forgetting of Hebrew.
The cracked eggs of flower bled hemophilia
and overtook the wallpaper as it grew.



We are talking about the looming possibility
of natural disasters in California
when Ashraf tells us that it is really
all just about bugs.
Although I don't understand
the analogy completely, I shift
my elbows on the restaurant table
and listen to the explanation:

You see, what about insects with a life
span totaling just hours. First generations
only experience day. Then, in a single life,
the whole species is cataclysmically changed
by dark, he says and dips a finger in his drink.

The next morning, I find out there has been a death
in Tennessee and I am in San Francisco
still thinking about what creature was fortunate
enough to live through dawn; how maybe
he lived only minutes after the sun
came up.

This is also the easiest way to explain
hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes
and dying: an awkward squint
towards the brightness and then
there is nothing.





West Coast Entomology: I owe coincidence credit for this poem. It was truly born from a layering of conversations and events within a 24-hour period. This is how you attempt to make sense of all the things that will never be made sense of.

Tupelo Sonnet: Yet another poem grappling with being raised in the South. I suppose Mr. Presley had a large hand in influencing this piece, but then again, so did cornbread, collard greens, and dirt roads.