“On My First Day of Kindergarten” by Miracle Thornton

Miracle Thornton


i picked a rose for my bus driver
from the bushes outside of my older
brother’s window. it was pink and red
like the deer split beside me
at the end of the driveway,
reeking of fresh cut
grass. i put my nose to the flower
but gagged. it smelled
like the green of panties
caught under the door.
my lunch rattled
in my new blue backpack
as i leaned over the deer,
my scalp thrumming hot
from the braids my mother
gave me the night before.
i was careful not to let
my denim dress touch
the liver pumping wet
and useless between us.
before i could place the rose
i heard a scream behind me
and the bus let out
a horrible sigh as it came
to a stop. the bus shook
with dozens of little pale
mouths pressed at the windows,
the driver’s mouth fullest
with teeth.

from Plucked
2023 Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner


Miracle Thornton: “When I encountered the Aesop fable, the moral of the story—an individual caught between pride and loyalty—immediately resonated with me. Growing up, I always felt pulled between the environment of my home and my hometown. It was difficult to understand who I was when it changed depending on the room, depending on whomever else occupied the space. The bird was a powerful conduit and spoke to the illusive aspects of my ever-evolving sense of self.”

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