in shifts of fours.
Four night shifts in a row, years before
we stop forgetting you exist.
We remember one hundred and twenty
decibel screams. Something tangled in my hair.
you’re half deaf. Dad,
in the car driving
a mile away
so the sound cut off.
You believe in coming out
only when you taste November
roots, like my toes
in mulch, under the bush
in our lawn. Your daughters bury you in
under sixty-four-degree soil
so we don’t see you for four years,
before you dig out. You sprout
like a weed
and swarm the irises
with a boot heel.
Your daughters pick your shells
dig membranous wings
from under our nails. You cling
to the back porch, watch
bugs turn branches brown.
come in overwhelming swarms You don’t hear
when the trunk hits the grass.
You don’t pray
for the cicadas singing in our ears.
Elizabeth Kuhn is a literary arts major at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, a magnet school for the performing arts. Her favorite genre is poetry and she won an honorable mention in the Scholastic Writing contest.