On my knees near the mesquite tree is where he tightened the collar, and made me swallow him down like striped-green happiness. It tasted like white numbness as my throat became a salty ocean of grey foam. Ash from the cindering burn barrel made its way onto our shoulders in small black specks from the chopped mesquite. I touched my arm and smudged seven marks in swipes from the black snow.
Misti Vaughn is the Assistant Director of the nonprofit organization The American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Her poems have recently been published in the Santa Fe Writer’s Project and Bravura Literary Journal. She is the two-time recipient of the Angelo Carli Poetry Prize. She’s a South Texan living in Encinitas, California.