Brittany J. Barron
After Kenneth’s Funeral, 1959
The little girl stands at her brother’s grave. She rubs
a sliver of grass between her fingers. The clouds tear
apart into odd shapes she cannot name. Dogwoods stand bare
save for a few blooms. It is January; she is tired of winter.
She may be thinking about the black and white portrait
taken on their front porch, where Daddy looks like he could splinter
in two. The girl wears the black watch Daddy gave her, her wrist
almost too small for it. In Mama’s arms, the newborn rests,
and Kenneth sits between their parents. His eyes tilt
too far to the right—the tumor draws his gaze to the dirt below.
Behind them, the house of muddied elbows, scratched knees,
double-dog dares. The house that will sleep one less than the night before.
Now, Mama—expecting again—passes her the baby. Take care of Sister.
This time next year, she’ll take off her watch, bury her hands in dishwater.
Brittany J. Barron reads “After Kenneth’s Funeral, 1959”
Born and raised in Flowery Branch, Georgia, Brittany J. Barron graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing at Georgia College, where she served as co-Assistant Poetry Editor of the national journal, Arts & Letters, and taught freshman composition. Her poetry has appeared in Plainsongs, The Examined Life Journal, and Poetry South. Currently, she teaches in the College Composition Program at Florida State University, where she is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition.