Turning Thirty
Renee Emerson (bio)

The last licks of summer sun hunger
for more horizon. Hope is not as passive,
doesn’t burn with a mild, unfurled light.

I want another baby, a house with a fence.
I want the sun in increments, with its endless
beating against the earth.

So you say, let’s have another
this year, let’s build a fence
around what we have.

In Tennessee, we’d have nights
with fewer mosquitos—if we settle
somewhere nice, like Franklin
or Cool Springs. In Arkansas:
better churches, or at least more to pick from.

I used to think you were afraid, stubborn,
but now I see what you have as a gift—
taking whatever is placed in your hands
and making rough music from it.

It’s tempting on both ends—to pick up and see
what’s out there or to stake it out, as you do with me,
working this root-matted gravel, this redclay dirt.

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