Lit, Lit Poetry

Autobiography as Muscle Memory by Sandy Longhorn

Traveling to the house of born and raised,tree and building in white

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

bwartLonghornSandy 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.