The 2River View 16.4 (Summer 2012)

Kimberly Horne

Summer With Father In A Small Town

My sister and I always choose to sit
in the bed of my father’s truck
with his German shepherd, King,

who bounds from side to side growling.
We love King more than our father
because King is handsome and loyal

and we can tell that King loves us.
Last summer, our father found him
behind the Quick-Stop he manages.

A wire hanger jabbed through his ear,
King was bleeding under our father’s
truck.  We know all about our father’s

history of rescuing animals, his ability
to bring plants back from the dead.
We know he speeds through crosswords

with a pen, does thousand-piece puzzles
in a matter of hours and we would like him
if that was all we knew.  I love the wind

stripping my hair from my face, the truck’s
faded blue paint, how the hump
over the tire makes the perfect seat

to see everything from—my sister smiling,
King switching sides, people looking after
us as we pass, thinking

what a beautiful dog, what happy children.

West Texas, 3 PM

The blind caves on Reed’s Plateau
look like yesterday’s caves, the sky yesterday’s, the wind
not from here anyway.  Loneliness holds my hand
and we watch the Texas sage blooming
in its own sweet time,  

everything talking to itself about
subjects less selfish,

the finches, busy in the present tense,
building nests out of breakage,
all the commando centipedes
crossing the road one more time even if it kills them,
the rattler sleeping, always sleeping.

It’s all enough to make one miss Alabama,
the embrace of humidity, the death grip of kudzu.

Kimberly Horne lives and teaches in Austin, Texas. Her writing has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Puerto del Sol, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Southern Poetry Review, among others. Her MFA in poetry is from the University of Virginia. contact