Autobiography as Muscle Memory by Sandy Longhorn
I dredge a map from muscle memory.
If I said the bones called me home, I’d be taking
the easy way out; instead, it was the scent
of blood I bled when pounding shingles into the roof,
the sweat of July making the hammer slip and crush
my thumbnail. Instead, the flavor of salt rubbed
into floorboards after the tears of my first lost lover.
Instead, the memory of words I scrawled on walls
about to be covered in paper and paint. My mother’s
lessons about the way a life can be rearranged
with a strong back and a willingness to change.
* This poem appears in The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths
Sandy Longhorn is the author of The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths, winner of the 2013 Jacar Press Full Length Poetry Book Contest, and Blood Almanac, winner of the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Longhorn teaches at Pulaski Technical College, where she directs the Big Rock Reading Series, and for the low-residency MFA Program at the University of Arkansas Monticello. In addition, she co-edits the online journal Heron Tree and blogs at Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.