Samantha Malay was born in Berlin, Germany and grew up in rural eastern Washington State. She is a theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, a writer and a mixed-media artist. Her poem/collage ‘Rimrock Ranch’ was exhibited at Core Gallery in Seattle in January, 2017, and her poem ‘Gather’ was published May 24, 2017 in The Ravens Perch.
My sister and I squint at the sun
hair clasped to our foreheads with metal barrettes
skirts pieced from old jeans for the first day of school.
We saw clothes in the underbrush flattened by rain
a car door open in the middle of the street
an earring lost down the drain in the sink.
The apartment flooded from kitchen to bathroom
so we laid a boardwalk of two-by-four lumber
but talk of a cake and our lack of ingredients
left us unsettled the rest of the day.
With our backs to the baseboards
we can listen for crickets
and keep our doubts hidden
where they feel like dissent.
Picture our mailbox covered in snow
and boots near the stove to dry overnight.
The flaw in our plans
was faith in our bond
and the trouble behind us
troubles us now.
pull the pit from the plum
wash your hair in the sink
open the window
to the mid-August heat
where shadows unspool
between distant trains
and voices in the alley
we will step around
the toys on the sidewalk
and hitchhike in spring
to the edge of the woods
a plane crossed the sky
as we stood in the field
and shook pebbles from our shoes
on our way to the creek
we arrived at the homestead
with untrained hands
and faith in our ability
to find comfort in solitude
daughter, daughter, son
do you see the days we had ahead of us
when the mailbox was empty
and there was nothing left to hock?
did we push our luck
shrug our bond
carry our sorrows to the next town?