Two Poems by Scout Katherine Turkel





1999 was a cold year. April/May were nonstop rain but our mother was prepared. Knit caps on
our heads, Me, Emily, and we were always dry. In June we discovered each other with
inquisition, cotton wrapped feet always stretching, reaching. Our father took the metro home
sometimes. There were two flights of stairs between us. We left before learning to climb. July
third I found my hands, a whole week before I could stop looking. I wanted to eat those palms. 
Small meat, small blood. How dire, worried our mother. I left them at night, persimmon and pit.


I opened a letter I wrote in January. Said why don’t you miss me a few more times than
intended. Tasteless and unsent. January 2008. My best friend was a forty year old woman named
Bertha. My favorite foods were roasted ham and cuticles. My best friend gave me a hat with a
brim and it was my first. I love her all the time. In March they’ll send your daughter out of class
for saying she is afraid of sex. Ocher, aluminum, then skin. No one prepared my mother for that


There isn’t a tree I haven’t spoken with. When I name my first child, it will be after a myth. I will
hold her, I will never chew. All my food is for you now, baby. Take my stomach and knead it, 
tender dough. I’ll watch her sleep and cry and we will walk into the field and never touch
because distance makes us stronger. She won’t know rain in this century, her only pity. I call her
aspen in my dreams, flammable limbs, all the rosin in her hair.




Death is an extensive farm.
I spent my morning between chicken coop and far fence
picking the dirt from my throat.
They didn’t clean you up before letting you go.
I think fond thoughts of you anyways,

silver knuckle fist fight behind the public pool
No more street corners here
or hammocks to kiss on.

I work for my space, pulling grain from the silo
and nectar from the well.
Crown grass, a perennial, feet in heavy sod. Harvest is an old world idea,
deadwood livestock loping through the field.
No more rain or song, woven wire and cupola.
I still have all my memories.