On the picnic blanket under the oak tree
my father turned to me and said:
“We hope you always come back here,”
where the shade eases the Southern sun
on our pale skin, where we sit in favor,
and I felt this birthday’s finite weight:
the ratio of lie to light,
and the brevity of this celebration
on the white blanket in tall grass;
his voice could not cradle me for long,
could not forever shade me in its bloom.
Soon, he would say goodbye for good,
and I’d drive across the state line
to my girlfriend: and the light strikes us
with no more backyard oak to shelter
from the burns on my face, my hands.




Amy Lauren JonesAmy Lauren Jones is a graduate music major at Mississippi College, a Christian university in the Jackson metro area. In 2013, 2014, and 2016, her poetry appeared in their annual literary magazine. She was also the first woman to receive the university’s Byrd Preaching Award, and she writes weekly for The Odyssey. Other recent publications include forthcoming issues of Lavender Review and Vagabond City. Although Amy hopes to pursue a doctorate in music, she still loves to write and study poetry.

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