By Samantha Kriney

You Were the Start, the Peace, My First Years
                                    –after Barry White

My feet loved the touch of my mother’s womb until the
first note you sung to teach me how to control
my need for constant contact. But that lesson ended the
last time I smelled oak and salt and wine while
my grandmother could still twirl me without
everything stabbing her like the needles
and metal and flowers screwed into her. Or like

the time my mother’s car drove itself and I never got an
answer to if my imagination took me away so I could find a map
to your lyrics or if I had to learn where I lived so
all I knew wouldn’t be lost, like the time
my brain became turned around in your bubble pit jail cell where
dreams come from Presley’s voice over a loudspeaker and
you’re rotating your world in your hands. Shaping it so
my feet, this time, won’t hit the lava made from our
sun that my brothers have placed so I can’t get to
my room. Because in reality, I jump from the drifting
moon to learn how to face my fears of the dark for
my own sanity that can only be found in the way my brothers are
guiding me safely toward a burning object that’s actually a
star. But then I open up my eyes and I find myself on our couch.

Never never gonna give the memories of cooking in your kitchen up
                                                                       –after Barry White

And the chocolate croissants from Goshen’s farmer’s market.
Oh, and don’t forget the pimento cheese that soaks
my newfound southern tongue that my grandmother always had.
Dear Mimi, why did you let coyotes into our garden?
I’ll stay by the parsley and strawberries you chew just to
be able to watch my dead dog continue to protect my
right wrist. What I mean is: you scrub yourself with lotion and
here are the empty bottles I’ve kept for safety only
until the day my skin transforms to yours while
my forehead absorbs your wrinkles to mark your
dying and I’ll pretend it doesn’t add up. It started with this: the
day you swung me to Barry White. The one I don’t remember.

Live Life Because
            –after Coldplay

The first time I swam was after I
learned how a dolphin once used
her tail to push her still-born calf to
the surface so it could rule
something other than the
balloons that rise into the world
only to one day pop and fall in the seas.
I always thought that I would
have the one that could rise
above everything. Even when
you packed for Nashville, I
believed the boys and dad still gave
you the fights, the screams, the
nights where we only needed one word.

About the Author:


Samantha Kriney is from Hilton Head Island, SC. She recently graduated from South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities where she was able to focus on her creative writing studies. In the fall, she will attend Clemson University Honors College to begin her bachelor’s degree in Language and International Trade. Her poetry has previously appeared in Litmus and Pull of the Tide.