Meg Cowen’s chapbook, When Surrounded By Fire, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. More of her poetry can be found in Volume 1, Issue 2 of burntdistrict.
HOW YOU SPARKLE WITH HALF YOUR HEAD GONE
Blanche Barrow, to her husband Buck (brother of Clyde) outside Platte City, MO, July 1933
By Meg Cowen
My father named me Blanche
because it never snows
where we’re from. But I can’t
whitewash the berry patch
this backseat has become.
Don’t mind that chiming, it’s only
my eyes closing on glass and reopening,
reborn as clusters
of quartz. If my eyes
can do this, why don’t my fingers
thin out to bone needles
and sew up this hole in your head?
I can feel your thoughts
throbbing out in the shape of
but don’t apologize
to me, keep your guts down
until we get to Iowa or at least
long enough to end up somewhere
I can lay you out in the flinty grass.
I’ll etch your face into my eyelids,
like a medieval woodcut.
Wouldn’t a good wife let you bleed out
into her own hands
for four days?
My eyes are folding in
on their last bezeled tree line,
but I see well enough to know
that you, darling, are no Lazarus.