Krista Genevieve Farris grew up a Hoosier, but now lives in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley with her husband and three sons. She has an MA in Anthropology from Indiana University and a BA in English and Anthropology from Albion College.
Links to her recent writing can be found at her writer’s website https://kristagenevievefarris.
First Grade Secret Santa Gift from a Boy I Might Have Loved
The clasp is ajar-
like some familiar hand holds
there’s a gap for a gasp and
a quick easy out,
the unconscious handiwork
of a distracted lover or a tired mother.
I figured out, at six, how to strip
the paper off a bread bag tie
use the tiny wire to overcome
the loose hold, secure link to link-
a hidden jerry-rigged chain under
my mouse brown hair.
How old I will be when they whisper
my mane should be knotted
or cut off at my nape.
How old. I should not care.
I wear the charm
in the hollow of my throat
put on, taken off, held
by a contorted wire I will.
Come on tear me up. Rip me out
like the intruder you think I am.
Shake awake my settled spirit.
Mow and hoe, Baby.
I’ll spring up like a dandelion
with the deepest of deep tap roots-
Rubbery stalk, flower head aged
to silver seed, shedding and blowing
prolifically growing, fields of gold
weedy bobbing blossoms and
vitamin rich greens- an acquired taste,
a globed bouquet, exquisitely odd love.
Jesus Cleans a Spit Valve
He’s an 11 year old kid
who goes outside to the muddy alley
behind our house
with all the potholes that piss off the neighbors
and stands by the green Saturn we call “the Stinky”
with the missing side view mirror
that’s parked next to the crooked basketball hoop
and the branch pile that nests an old broken jogging stroller,
and plays his trombone among the mosquitos.
Blows loud and steady enough,
with correct pitches and spirited rallying notes-
unhindered by pre-teen arms that still can’t reach 7th position-
to get the attention of his friend who lives around the corner,
who also plays trombone,
but doesn’t play outside
or channel composition.
He understands today’s “no ceiling fan rule” in the dining room and
why dinner isn’t ready and it’s already 8 and there’s stacks of
papers on the table and why I can’t hear anyone who speaks to me,
“Mom, Mom, MOM….”
He empties his spit valve,
catches my tears,
shines his bell.
I know this child who used to make music when he was one,
crawling on the couch naked and blowing raspberries
on every reachable body part, exploring every joyful tone
until he was a slimy saliva mess.
He is my son.
When I’m in the kitchen
staring blankly at the contents of the freezer at the meat
I should have pulled out hours ago
He stands behind me and whispers,
“Mom…Mom you’re a good mom.”
He composes a perfect piece of poetry.
"Jesus Cleans a Spit Valve" was first published in the print version of Tribeca Poetry Review 2014.
~Krista Genevieve Farris