That Girl, Here

by Sara Pennington

                        —Harts, West Virginia, 1889

The shot fired from her brother’s pistol,
that wretched girl watched it, the small cloud escape

        into air, the discharge
of powder: clan of motes, that dark swarming
        of fate behind the trigger. Loved it

every time: the jolt inside her ribs, the ringing inside
her head she’d transform into cathedral music

        she’d never heard. It would always
hollow out that stuffy space, the barn loft
        muffled with sweet hay.

She saw my daddy thump onto the road,
I’m sure, the dust rising like ash

        in our cold firebed, stirred.
I try to imagine her; but that’s all it is—me
        trying to be that girl—here

as my mother readies to shoot
the man who made her a widow.