—After reading “Insignificant Beginnings” by Vandana Khanna
Before I was born, in a city that loves
the taste of marshmallow pies,
a sign: a Gypsy peddler, jangling
pans and fortunes, telling
me to move, move, to grow
ever restless of the same view.
My mother, nourished
nine months by Burger King,
on the day of my birth ate an apple
ripe as her small womb.
She would need the doctor,
curse his knife. My father,
just back from service,
all square shoulders and cleft
chin, searched for the job
that would keep him from us
hours and holidays, swearing
duty, food on the table.
These facts melt warm and familiar
as spun sugar on my tongue.
But I started longer ago, as a ship
that lost its way. As the rain
and muck of a wilderness trail.
As the shelter of a cave.
As a place called Sugar Fork,
where bats at twilight once circled
and swirled like Cherokee dancers,
where against a sky darker
than spent earth, stars floated
like manna, a hope that never fell.
Kory Wells is author of HEAVEN WAS THE MOON, a poetry chapbook from March Street Press. When she’s not writing, Kory advocates for the arts, democracy, afternoon naps, and other good causes. A two-time finalist for the Rash Award for Poetry and winner of the 2016 HeartWood Broadside Series, her work appears in ASCENT, POEM, UNSPLENDID, THE SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, and other publications. Kory lives near Nashville and mentors poetry students in the low-residency program MTSU Write. She recently founded a reading and open mic series, Poetry in the Boro. Read and listen to more of her work at korywells.com. Connect with Kory on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram