Inevitable

by KATHLEEN NALLEY

Of course, she winds up here, at the same place she began. The towering sycamores and the leaning pines tell her so. The brown grass and the cracked concrete and the peeling linoleum remind her. The drooping soffits, the leaking roof. The stains on the ceiling. The unending trail of debris. In the past three days, a stray brought her a trinity: squirrel, bird, and snake. All earth and air. All that’s missing is water, rush. She plays dead like the snake dangling from the cat’s mouth. She settles into the dirt. And, here, in this particular climate, it doesn’t take long for the ants to show up to eat, the flies to plant their eggs, for the maggots to begin to squirm.

KATHLEEN NALLEY is the author of Nesting Doll (winner of the S.C. Poetry Initiative Prize), and American Sycamore (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry has appeared in Night Block, The Bitter Southerner, Melancholy Hyperbole, and Night Owl, as well as in the Kakalak 2014 Anthology. She holds an MFA from Converse College and teaches literature and writing at Clemson University.