DANIELLE SELLERS At Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Mineral Wells, Texas, October, 2015

I have brought a group of teenagers
to study their free country. We hike down
a craggy trail, treacherous with boulders
and wild rose vines, just thorns now
this time of year. The oaks are beginning
to turn. I lose my footing,
fall, but in falling find
a rock with moss shaped like a heart.
Blood blooms through my jeans.
I worry about my daughter. I have left
her at school an hour’s drive away.
What will happen to her
if something happens to me? I am all
she has for a thousand miles.
The students and I push ourselves
farther than we think we can go.
Out of dense forest the deep blue lake
opens ahead of us, and we pause.
Leaf shadows vibrate on the humus.
A woodpecker rattles its brain for a taste.
We keep going. My heart limps inside me.
A lizard hurries across my line of sight.
I think of home. The usual pain
of being far from it is lessened here.
Through branches, the sun shows lines
of monofilament. Mid-air, a spider,
small and gray as lint, throws balls
of silk to the wind, hoping they catch
and take hold.

Danielle Sellers is from Key West, FL. She has an MA from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of Mississippi where she held the John Grisham Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, Smartish Pace, The Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. Her first book, Bone Key Elegies, was published by Main Street Rag. Her second poetry collection, The Minor Territories, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2018. She teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas.