Two Poems by Kristin LaFollette


When I think of you, first you’re honeycomb
& milkweed, then a stack of white plates
with blue borders—

I grew up not afraid of guns because you
taught me not to be afraid:
Hunting is eating &
together we find and take the marrow—

As a child, you would take me with you
to the woods to help pull an animal
into the back of the truck, drape it with a blue
tarp, watch as the others washed the blood and
mineral off their hands with cool water from a jug.

In some ways, my fingers still hold the moss & clots of mud & leaf,
a smell like muscle & lung left in a field,
heat rising like heavy winter breath—

There’s new language, and I know it because of you.
My voice is only what you’ve made it to be:
Apostrophe & lemon & brick—

We are both branches in the shape of antlers still
attached to the skull of a deer,

bone submerged in borax,
smooth & upright like crystal—


I hear cicadas falling
from the trees outside
my house, their firm
bodies striking the
concrete like minerals
& birdseed.

Once, my dog shoveled
a live cicada into her
mouth and held it
there, her teeth a
cage for the panicked
flapping and flitting—

Here, the dead insects
on the sidewalk smell
like rainwater I can
carry in my skin,

a humidity like wet cotton.
We’ve moved so many times
that I no longer know
the difference between

cicadas in this state and that.

All I see are their white,
upturned bellies, iridescent
eyes and shells, wings like
tissue paper & cheesecloth.

Yesterday, the tree outside
my living room birthed
five of the cicada bodies
and I thought, for a moment

that if I peeled back the bark
and shoved my hands inside
that maybe I, too, could be
born again—


Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can find visit her website at and Twitter at @k_lafollette03