Dust in Her Hair

For my mother

Dust in her eyes
in the crevices of a packed
pickup truck, drives
cross country through
the lonely roads

A marriage behind her, she
sinks her feet into California sand
salt water, the silt of mud bath

Works odd jobs, moves
eleven times in the first year
dreams of coasts she is learning
to name, studies maps and
recipes, drives stick shift
and pinches spices

She will teach her mouth
a new way to move, find a language
she doesn’t yet know, she will
fly across both oceans
island, peninsula, mountain

She sweeps the floor tonight
scrubs the windows, and dusts
a family portrait in Spain
snapshot of her elopement in Jamaica
paper birds she folded in Japan

Her bags packed, for the day after
tomorrow, when she travels to
the Colorado, hikes down the canyon
dust on her boots, dust in her hair

A Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English-speaking poet from Long Beach, California. Disabled with scoliosis from a young age, her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms. Author of Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) and founder of the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks, Kelsey’s poems appear in petrichor, Cholla Needles, Rise Up Review, Right Hand Pointing, Redshift, and Making Up, a Picture Show Press anthology. Writing towards her new title, Here Go the Knives, find her at https://kelseybryanzwick.wixsite.com/poetry.

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