Luanne Castle's Kin Types (Finishing Line), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award. Her first poetry collection, Doll God (Aldrich), was winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she studied at University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, Glass, Verse Daily, American Journal of Poetry, Broad Street, and other journals.
One of Her Parents was a Float,
the other an underwater island.
One parent was a circulating library,
the other a television signal.
Across the ocean, other parents
read a language like a movie.
In the dawn, one parent collected
hearts, while the other meant
to fertilize daisies and milkweed.
Somewhere other parents were
a teapot and a shovelful of clay.
One parent was a blackberry bramble,
the other a signed Bible missing pages.
Still others were buses, candles, pickles,
and empty strollers. She felt confused.
One parent gave a palm to land on,
another gave a velvet couch cushion,
yet another a musical note. One held
an unwrapped gift for wondering over.
Past the Chinese mothers
leading babies in padded coats,
the men with pigtails
swinging below hat brims,
the peddler with his fringe
and clankety packs,
the smells of the oil
and horsesweat, the piss
and foul entrails and upwards
the cables and grease, smoke-
stained dormers and turrets
and cornices, the gorgons
on the mansions, and then
back through the glazed streets
to the alley corners and bars
where they meet her, ten years
old and pregnant, and the police
look away. One regular, with
his wet plate camera, shoots
her bare bulging belly, her child’s
form, her downcast dark eyes
and heart-shaped resignation.