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By Sarah Dickenson Snyder

My first kiss was under a leaf pile
my face flecked with fall—later
my father burned the mound
in front of our house on the edge
of Elm Street. All I thought about
were Jimmy’s lips as Dad heaved
more leaves into the crackling.

How we burn what has fallen,
how it becomes ash and smoke,
nutrients for the soil, a swirl in the sky.

Our past thins as smoke does,
becoming invisible, unholdable—
smoke and a little scroll rolled in the folds
of a brain. That’s where my first kiss lives.

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has three poetry collections, The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera. She has been nominated for Best of Net, was the Poetry Prize winner of Art on the Trails 2020, and a Finalist for Iron Horse National Poetry Month Award. Recent work has appeared in Rattle and RHINO. She lives in the hills of Vermont. 


Archive, The River

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