Days of kalmia, azalea, Blue Ridge. Nights
of steak on the grill, canvas chairs with cupholders,
cans of Stag and Blatz, Schlitz we lift from ice.
The fork in the firepit, stainless steel gone ember orange.
When I think it’s cool enough, and clean,
I test it to my cheek.
Slender, distinct pain of tines, delicately seared:
a fight with a badger. Faux-tribal scarification.
The next morning the light gives me away, and Josey
laughs, starts calling me Tiny. As in “tines.”
A branding. Brand that reads as shin in Japanese:
kanji for heart, for tenderness. Tenderness
for my own rash heart. Heart of stupidity. Heart
of consequence. Crisp heart to spite my face all week.
Listen to Jill McDonough read “Campsite, Shenandoah”
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