From The Truest Autobiography I Ever Wrote

The way the lips purse saying the word truth so that you know it is a narrow way and even the most exact things aren’t ever true enough.

Party Dress
It looks like a little girl party dress and the bodice is tight across the painful beginnings of breasts. My mother is making me wear it for her friend’s wedding. The dress is turquoise satin with black velvet dots about the size of punch-outs from a paper punch. Mother will get mad if I start peeling off the dots. My thumbnail would fit right under them.

She got married to play house. He insisted on playing grown-up. It turned out she didn’t like being a doll. Two children later, he opened the front door with its real knob and hinges.

The guys came back and lurked among the trees on the National Mall. There was no parade. There was no way to get back home.

Planetary Gratitude The full August moon woke me. I thought it was morning, how the glow showed through my glass of water. Beyond the hedge, the black lips of a yearling bear mouthed ripe berries like stars.

Becoming Wheat Next I will be the soft white wheat berry trucked from combine to grain elevator to barge to factory to shop. I will become part of a noodle in the open mouth of a little Chinese boy with beautiful teeth whose mother is saying in Mandarin, Chew with your mouth closed so the ancestors don’t see your tonsils.

Penelope Scambly Schott’s newest books are Serpent Love: A Mother-Daughter Epic and Bailing the River. She lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.