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IR ONLINE POETRY: “Woman as a Forest Fire” by Tennessee Hill

I like how precious looks like precocious
and I look blonde and glowy like a sickness.
Or the bowl of apricots tumbled across

the hardwood. My mother tells me as we stack
back the fruits, to be a good wife I need to start
with the Oxy early.

She tells me if I turn out to be a cheater, never
admit it. Holds the mirror as I trace perfumed oil
around my collarbone and says

Roll a little softer.

Burn the first Thanksgiving turkey, sit on your hands
and yawn, oh honey not tonight when you want him
most. Starve the fever. Go into the bathroom

and take care of yourself. Fan the flame of your maiden
name but never in front of the children. Always in the laundry
room, ushering clandestine smoke rings toward a vent.

Be fire, dancing around the wood pile.

Get the whole forest hot.


Tennessee Hill is a Senior at Stephen F. Austin State University working toward her BFA. She was a finalist for the 2017 Dan Veach Younger Poets Prize and has work in Crab Orchard Review, Sandy River Review, and Kaaterskill Basin.