by Kimberly Martz

There is childhood. Training wheels
you weren’t allowed to remove; an armful
of pears left to rot in a bucket; the rusted
edge of a paring knife hidden away when
it was seen too close to the blue of a vein.
A soft hum in your ear, the tenacious
whirring of tires on asphalt — too,

a blurred portrait of father and son,
red-faced and mute, in the front yard
early one morning, hands crumpled
about the cuff of a shirt, fists white-
knuckled, as when they’d yank kittens
from the old well. Too many, anyhow.
If there were too many kittens, were there
too many children? And the shadow

that followed a brother’s body down
the graveled length of that driveway —
there is still nothing at the end of it.
Nothing but the road, which everyone
travels. The county resurfaces it, but
all the old potholes are marked,
the cracked-lip edge of the shoulder
expected. Don’t put us down, they tell me.

As though a page could render them
permanent, could fix them in one moment
the way a camera restrains its subject — bodies
frozen, faces contorted around suggestion.
Traffic faint in the backdrop.

Kimberly Martz received her B.A. in English from Auburn University, where she received an Academy of American Poets Prize. Currently, she is working on her M.F.A. at the University of Oregon. She has had poems published in Poet Lore, The Southern Poetry Review, and Urban Spaghetti.

Kimberly Martz was nominated for Poets Under 30 by Natasha Trethewey.