When they told me my mother was born in the back of an Impala,
I imagined a screaming infant astride a swift creature, bounding through the country
toward my grandmother’s house. I never wondered why she wasn’t already there.
I never wondered what some African animal was doing in Wingo, Kentucky.
I just imagined a baby on an antelope’s back. I imagined them charging
through a blackberry bush, getting stuck, thorns circling
the impala’s crown. When they stumbled up to my grandmother’s house,
she was painting her toenails blood red. She should have scooped the baby into her arms,
but instead she cried at the sight of the beast, tenderly pulled out each thorn.
Shelby Dale DeWeese is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, and she will be joining the University of San Francisco as an MFA candidate in Poetry in August 2015. She is a poetry editor for Teen Ink Magazine and Fractal Magazine. She has led writing workshops in Germany and Los Angeles through USC’s Writer in the Community program, as well as through nonprofit writing center 826LA. Her work has appeared in The Knicknackery, Marathon Literary Review, The Camel Saloon, and other publications.
For a complete list and more information, visit shelbydaledeweese.wordpress.com.