A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Phoebe North

graduated in 2006 from William Paterson University, where she studied poetry under Timothy Liu.  Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in 2river, elimae, Death Metal Poetry, and Taiga

She lives in Florida, though her heart is in New Jersey.


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Sonnet for the State Fair

We were at a crossroads in Augusta
when the dark grasses started shooting up,
blooming wild roses as they cracked gray
asphalt, curling over the humming curves
of the neon lights. The Ferris wheel groaned
when the kudzu jammed its girders, smothered
the sun-burnt lovers feeling each other’s
bubbled, tattooed flesh like Braille in the steel
baskets. Moon-eyed, the Jersey heifers lowed
in the barn. The capons’ feathers rose up
and were snatched away by keen-mouthed fly traps
as you kissed me on the park bench, my breath
hot from the plastic cup of white wine I
gasped down before we, too, were swallowed whole.



No trees were planted that August. Or the autumn
after. The only branches that wormed through hard
ground were the names of infant cousins, chiseled
into miniature granite, blossoming strangers packed
into small, soft graves. Charles, you were right. We
had no great war, not even a single electric, flaming
skirmish. Our moment of definition, if there must be
one, was only this—sweating in our funeral clothes,
watching the storm clouds grumble close, our water-
guns cocked to the sky and waiting.