Maya Pemble – “Hay Rolls” and “Rockbridge County Wildcats”

Hay Rolls

Sadieville, Kentucky, 2022

I dreamed them once

dozens dense and quiet

sweet-lined down the field’s winding bed

faces cartwheeling my memory

a crowded reliquary

perhaps proof I’d seen it then

been there when one yell blessed another

I tried to climb legs collapsing 

caught by the tight rounded V in between

I fell

they grew mammoth

dried bits thick as my chest

when I arrived back home they’d been stacked

out of sight probably wrapped in that plastic

sold bulk in surgical colors

now as I approach the meadow is full

of pricking echoes

I imagine days of cutting and baling

bundles squatting fatly in early mists

rising with the purple dusk immense

dry spirals alight with gold

space between a brittle petroglyph

lifted in my absence

by sunburned hands

by the mouths of horses

Rockbridge County Wildcats

west virginia late morning

stuffy light

legs restless

it was us

and two blue buses rolling nose to tail

a pair of rough treaders cresting hills

then rushing swift as grey sleet down, down

which sport those boys played I couldn’t guess

a kid glances over and now I’m thinking what if

we were friendly across the freeway

what if I could tell you how I’m conjuring

the scraps of me, then

you placing me in retrograde

beside stamped habits

jests faltering towards

the edge of yes

I liked how my desire flashed on others

            your hands my hands on their shoulders

            their laugh my laugh, oh

            how you were clever  

I held a touch

for each one

first on the forehead perhaps a spotted cheek

the elbow’s fulcrum

but let’s talk your game, wildcat

let’s tally up those clean looks

the dirty ones that missed your beloved

from the darkness of an empty bed

streaked with pain and

your secret wholeness

look across the pavement

and read my lips

for I have lived you again and again

each minute 

stifling the poetry

            of my sex–

            a fast-running

            house of power

My name is Maya (they/she) and I grew up in Sadieville, Kentucky. I am a junior at Smith College majoring in French and Comparative Literature. I almost never sit down to write ; events, objects, and people inspire my poems in the moment, wherever I might be. Thank you for your consideration!

Next Poet: Chelsie Kreitzman

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