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Prairie Moon Dalton



I’m a mosquito’s first choice

in July dusk you can find me


scratching myself raw, using

my thumbnail to press a cross

into every soft welt.


But God made

these bugs too, and all

of us have to eat.


So every summer night, I bite

my tongue and spit all over

the porch rail


and once in a while


I let them sip straight


from my ankles and watch


as they grow full and dizzy


on me and the floodlights.





Sunday evenings I wash the river

water from my hair.


The basin is dark with rust

but clean enough for me to swim in.


My body is grown now—the cigarette burns

on my palm stretch to fine white lines.


When asked, I blame a spider

I never saw. It crawled through

my window into my sleeping fist

and I held it close through the night. 



Prairie Moon Dalton is an Appalachian poet. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Rattle, The Allegheny Review, and elsewhere. She is currently pursuing her MFA at North Carolina State University.


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