The Dirt Sticks, by Kyoko Miyabe

Scratched in every crevice

in the care packages

from Pops that never came. FU,

as he folded white t-shirts, green t-shirts,

canvas ducks, endless tatty towels. On his old A&P

stock gun on

stacks of Swanson’s, Charmin, cans of chaw.

FU: he could have been butcher or shift boss.

Emptiness the verdict for assault and battery

with intent to FU:

Avid fluorescence

uniform aggression in the red

white sirens of the po-po

white seats of his Chevy

red blood. FU she asked for it,

he told himself.

Just ask her if she didn’t.


CELIA BLAND is a writer-in-residence in Bard College’s Written Arts Program and the Associate Director of the Bard Institute for Writing & Thinking.  Her poetry has received the Raynes Poetry Prize, the Rome Poetry Prize, and a Narrative Magazine “best of the year” prize and been included in many anthologies. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and New York University, her previous collections include: Soft Box: Poems, and Madonna Comix, a book-length collaboration of poetry and visual image with the artist Dianne Kornberg. “FU,” with its accompanying image, is from Bland’s newest collection of poetry, Cherokee Road Killillustrated with pen and ink drawings by Kyoko Miyabe.

KYOKO MIYABE received her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University, and continued her art education at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She earned a doctorate at the University of Cambridge, UK and studied at the University of the Arts London, then at Von Erlenbach Kunstschule in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries and institutions, including Woodmere Art Museum, Artists’ House Gallery, Cheltenham Center for the ArtsArt Institute of Philadelphia and more.