by Taneum Bambrick

I unwind a reel of company caution tape,
tie it in a tight line
from the rearview mirror
to the middle seat—

severing the truck cab—my thumb nail
pried in the divot of the Buck Knife
blade at my knees.

Grayson drove us out of service,
parked in dirt between orchard trees.
Took his hands off the wheel,
turned to me.

Somewhere there a plastic bucket
of rotting apples. Pale and soupy.
Skin slipped off, floating flat on top
like wax wrappers from candy

(imagine the rose deodorizer of a clean outhouse)

Drink some, he said, I dare you.
Put one in your mouth.

Taneum Bambrick is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her chapbook, Reservoir, was selected by Ocean Vuong for the 2017 Yemassee Chapbook Prize. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s MFA program, she is the winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and the 2018 Booth Nonfiction Contest. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Quarterly West, Pleiades, Blackbird, The Southeast Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Entropy, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Arts Center, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.