1st Place, 2019 Frontier Industry Prize
After April Rain
by Elizabeth Oxley
When the dogwood in our yard drips dry,
pink blooms erupt like wounds. Knowing me,
my brother once said, be sure to live outside
of sadness. I craved storms the way some were
addicted to drugs or horses, I adored
the word flank for its military muscle.
On my left sits gloom, on my right
the memory of a Buddhist monk.
He was passing through town. I made
an appointment. About my daughter,
he said, she will do what you do. After that,
I sought silver linings without edges
sharpened, drank chamomile tea,
kept a journal until I turned coward.
Finding my daughter in the bathroom,
I calculate our odds and press a cloth
to her arm. She drops the blade in a corner
crammed with dirty laundry. I couldn't speak
until now. No longer captive to her grief,
my daughter points to full moons and horses
clustered in a mountain field, hooves
carving columbine. She climbs the fence,
feet covering ground, planted on rock.
I think girl and hear thunder.