Editor’s Note: TIO is excited to welcome poet Kierstin Bridger to our Poet’s Corner family.  Kierstin is the 2011 winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize and the contest’s 2012 judge. She splits her time between Telluride and Ridgway and is currently pursuing her MFA through Pacific State University. Check out her bio to learn more about her and where to find more of her published work.


She begins her memoir
in the bank vestibule
tries typing panther’s scream
but nothing registers
simply hollow blue screen

She has memory deposits
and withdrawals, nothing but
the elapses and schisms count
know there is no thief here
no, not of money

We were Black Irish she says

Her Kentucky nights
they are everywhere
she picks them up like gum wrappers
gusts of ghosts
stuck in flaming scrub oak

I hear her in whispered Appalachian
She recites the names of children
in her one room school house
–though standing in the teller’s line

She recalls their lunches
which had stew, which
had gravy in a mason jar
potbellied stove warmed with
biscuit; butter crisped
wax paper wrapped and slick

It was a Black Irish feud she says again

Her father’s still
hidden in a shanty
stolen copper lining
white lightning on a clear day

Later, almost dusk, she’s drifting from hot skillet
the coils of the burner blaze
as she stares through the window
traces chapters in the haze

After the panthers cry
there was breaking of glass
Blood in the holler

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