Figure-Ground

Poetry / Hannah Kroonblawd

Tracing a line from your birthplace to mine,
Turtle Lake ripples just below your shoulder blade

and I follow the striation across your central plain,
slowing past Reedsburg to wade the Wisconsin River.

I memorize the topology of you and it is good—
better, even—the long sweep of skin

rising and falling as you breathe, as I name
each curve of muscle, the north shore

of your shoulder. Farther south
ridges of your iliac crest bloom lilac.

Some call this land God’s Country
and when I splay my hand,

thumb on La Crosse, ring finger stretching
toward your scapula, I am inclined to agree.

Hannah Kroonblawd is a PhD candidate at Illinois State University. A graduate of the MFA program at Oregon State University, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Yemassee, Sycamore Review, The Cossack Review, BOAAT, and The Grief Diaries, among others.