By: Emily Kingery

They offer me apples from their backpacks, but I have read 
enough of Genesis not to be duped, drunk enough Hydroxycut 

that I am finally on fire. I hear the apples split like bones 
in their heads. They crack open books, copy me and scrub out 

their mistakes with erasers, soft and pink and they never 
think to eat them. They are not to be loved, they who measure 

in facts, they who have no fondness for the crest of an ilium 
or rib under a boyfriend’s palm, they whose straps stay put 

where no thumbs can glide under. Adams grow hungry,
they tire of God and their animals and vanish like scarves

up a sleeve. They get expelled, find trees that are ready to drop 
and shake down to their ankles a lineage. They are filthy 

with apples without me. They offer, but I have read enough 
to know I am half-gone already. I have cut enough flesh

that when the crosscut saw is flourished in the garden
for the final trick, my body will disappear on its own. 

Emily Kingery teaches English at a small university in Iowa. Her work appears widely in journals, including Birdcoat Quarterly, CutBank, Eastern Iowa Review, GASHER, Gingerbread House, Midwest Review, New South, Plainsongs, Quarter After Eight, and Trampoline, among others, and she has been both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, as well as a chapbook finalist at Small Harbor Review and Thirty West Publishing House. Recently, she was named first runner-up in the 2020 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, judged by Dinty W. Moore, and she received an honorable mention in the 2021 Emerging Woman Poet contest held by Small Orange Journal. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community (