Devil’s Lake

Spring 2017 Issue

Winner of the 2016 Driftless Prize in Poetry Learn more >

Julie Henson: Speculative Folklore of a Great-Great

for Sarah Eliza

Keeper of jars filled with gallstones, her own. Keeper of dead

brother’s anklebone, the one he broke that didn’t heal.

Late in life oil painter. Lonely owner of singlewide trailer.

Was everything in it pink? Yes. Mother of fifteen, all born

in batches of five. First batch: Burl, Joe, Doyle, Herb, Dale. Wife

of an angry sharecropper. Giver of kerosene as cure-all.

Lover of dogs named Tig. Lover of superstition: one morning,

when she was a little girl, lightning came out of blue sky,

struck a horse down dead. Next morning, a pig. Next, her brother

tripped, lazy down the stairs. Not even a loud crack.

Just that ankle. I heard the true story once, but forgot. Every year

was the same year. Her house, made of wood.

Here You Are, You Are Here

Outside your window, Proper Noun. Look. Okay. Enough.

This is [Name of Place]. Which reminds you of [Name of Another

Place], which makes you feel [Particular Feeling]. Foggy,

all those swallows from earlier this morning

swarming & receding make you think of something come back from the dead.

You can’t help but remember when [REDACTED] and you shopped for cars,

and [REDACTED] checked all the headlights to be sure they matched.

The jump: Did you know if you can get your dead car to an AutoZone

they will jump your battery for free? Also check its charge, diagnose

its dilemma. The catch: you have to push it through traffic.

I think now would be a good time for us to hear a [Quote from the Bible].

Another memory: Van*, Alonzo*, Grandpa*, Sadie*, Candy*,

and Matt* [Names Changed] telling us get thee to an AutoZone,

but Bethany [Actual Name] and I just stayed in the Payless parking lot

trying to get the Toyota to turn over.

Hot day. Frozen foods unfreezing. Bouquet of flowers on the back

of the car seat, already wilting.

There you are, the [Metaphor]. You have been that flower all along.

JULIE HENSON was the winner of Redivider’s Beacon Street 2015 poetry prize. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry, Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, Salt Hill, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Quarterly West, CutBank, Southern Indiana Review, and others. She currently lives in Indiana with her cat, Pippa. More from this issue >