- The Fort
When we'd grown bored of the birth-slick pigletssquirming in the farrowing house's false heat,we left to climb the gate and gallop through pasture,coats hung open, our hands October raw.
Crossing a fallen elm over the creekinto my uncle's timber, our pack of cousinsturned half-feral at the scent of rotting leaves,yipping and kicking through brush up to our knees.
The fort was just past where a doe had bedded down,the wallow a reminder of our place among things.We'd made a shelter of sorts with what we could scroungefrom the trash ditch—sheets of tin, a rain buckled door,and best of all, the rusted DeKalb flying corn.
Those boys wanted a war so they went huntingfor hedgeballs and walnuts and hard cow flops to hurl,and I, the only girl, stayed behind to make do,arranging our places around the pretend fire.
Gathering bundles of bittersweet alone,I liked how being there made me feel wild inside.I could squat to make a steaming circle of peeand I could say damn out loud if I wanted.
At last they ran back puffing their heifer-wet breathand dragging grubby sleeves across their noses.From the one dented pie plate I served a slurryof rainwater and dirt we lifted to our mouthswith invisible spoons. When the quiet came
and the gray flannel of evening droppeddown on our haven, our hovel, the same,it wasn't darkness or cold that moved ustoward home. Always it was hunger. [End Page 44]
Amy Fleury is the author of Beautiful Trouble (2004) and Sympathetic Magic (forthcoming, 2013). Recent poems have appeared in Crazy-horse, River Styx, 32 Poems, and other journals. She directs the MFA program at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.