Two Poems by Amelia Martens

Staying Found

The news is heavy again with blood and the vowels of a woman’s name.
Kindergarten teacher, mom, runner: a body found. The end of everything
is around the corner, but we’re on a merry-go-round so it’s hard to look
ahead: dust storms strip the paint from houses no one can afford, and
women wrap their children tight to their own bodies with appliance cords
as the water rises in the dark. Or a fire has been burning so hot and fast,
it’s not the name of a town anymore. You wonder if we’ll poison ourselves
out of existence and turn on the dishwasher. We are caught inside a movie
played at the wrong speed, film slips and gets wrapped in the reels; decades
pass as dogs on worn out rugs. Our hands, what are we doing with our hands;
the small gestures, we are a mimicry of drowning birds. The blood weighed
down and chemical, the body left behind again. 


Second Daughter

BPA is ubiquitous in all the world’s oceans; 

our apologies are diluted until they disappear. 

You are coming and expect to live here. 

What have we made, while you make your brain? 

The sun is a billion billion billion yellow finches 

and the sky a lawn of stars. 

Our watersheds, our bloodstreams

rush with forever chemicals. We count

down to too late, then reset an imaginary timer. 

What will you not know—a field on aglow

with fireflies, the dark

ways we plunged through, existence. 

Please pull the microplastics from our hearts; 

please curl your fingers around our fingers, 

and break our silence into shards. 

photo: Rachael Houser Photography

Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There to Dig a Moat (Sarabande Books, 2016), and four chapbooks. Her work has been supported by a 2021 Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a 2019 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. She currently serves as the program manager for the Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange.