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My oldest didn’t know
where her body began and her
mind ended. She couldn’t feel the
sensation of embodiment, as if
she were always afloat in
astral projection. She could
swallow, could walk, could love
the way cicadas drowned out lake
ripples. She could stay awake for
days over the sight of a blue-eyed
boy with a tan. She just couldn’t
understand the difference between
mind and skull, love for a starling’s
nest built in the torn-away gutter of
our house and the gutter’s frayed
edge. She wasn’t paralyzed. She was
a feather’s point where the vane
meets quill. She was the space that
flows between a riverstone and
water. She was the afterglow of
lightning bug once it’s lit then
drifts up into a tree. The only
time she could feel herself was
when someone drove her in a car,
windows down. Then she could feel
the idea of wind on her face like someone
scratched her rib bones and lit a match.

Kentucky poet, educator, and folklorist Sarah McCartt-Jackson’s poetry books include: Stonelight, Calf Canyon, Vein of Stone, and Children Born on the Wrong Side of the River. She teaches kindergarten and poetry to all ages.