Cole Took Me Flying in His Cessna

threw a roll of toilet paper out the cabin window,
and dove the plane through the loops it made.
We almost hit the trees.

He took me quail and dove hunting on horseback
at the family home in Alabama. Dogs pointing.
Doves falling to soft, sandy soil. Quail bunches
in the dog’s mouth. I couldn’t eat that night.

Cole flew me to his other home on the Gulf Coast,
land of sugar sand and turquoise water.
We waded there with sand sharks.
And no clothes.
His looped mother yelled at me through
the bedroom door. I pretended I couldn’t hear her.

Once we had my family over when my cousin Wendy
won the Miss USA pageant. Later, Cole walked
Wen all over the Fontainebleau Hotel on his arm.
I fell asleep for a long time.

We were weaving a tapestry.
Within it, a message: this can never work.

About the Author

Donna Emerson writes poetry and prose. She recently retired from college teaching and her practice as a licensed clinical social worker.

Some of her publications include Alembic, CQ (California Quarterly), CALYX, The Chaffin, Courtship of Winds, Denver Quarterly, Dos Passos Review, Eclipse, Edison Literary Review, Fourth River, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin, The Los Angeles Review, LUX, Naugatuck River Review, New Ohio Review, Paterson Literary Review, The Paragon Journal, Passager, Persimmon Tree, Praxis: Gender & Cultural Critiques (formerly Phoebe), Quiddity, Sanskrit, Slipstream, Soundings East, So To Speak, The South Carolina Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Spillway, Spry, Stone Canoe, Tower Journal, and Weber—The Contemporary West.

Her work has received numerous prizes and awards including being selected as a finalist in the 2016 Trio House First-Book Awards and the 24th Annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction and Essay Contest, Editor’s Choice in the 2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and honorable mention in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, nominations for the Pushcart Prize (2013), and Best of the Net (2012). Her second chapbook, Body Rhymes (2009), nominated for a California Book Award, and third and fourth chapbooks, Wild Mercy (2011) and Following Hay (2013), have been published by Finishing Line Press. Her work can also be seen in anthologies such as Echoes (2012), Keeping Time: 150 Years of Journal Writing (Passager Press), Chopin with Cherries, A Tribute in Verse (Moonrise Press), Music In The Air (Outrider Press), and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed (Sixteen Rivers).

Her first full-length poetry collection, The Place of Our Meeting, was published by Finishing Line Press in January 2018 and nominated for the California Book Award.