Wrong Turn at 16 Years Old, and some news


I must admit, my National Poetry Month is off to a fantastic start! Yesterday, I got some wonderful news: my next poetry collection, Flare Stacks in Full Bloom, will be published by Texas Review Press! I'm beyond thrilled to be joining the TRP family. The book is an ecofeminist collection of poetry set in southeast Texas. It's inspired by the contrasting beauty of the Big Thicket forests and the mightiness of the industrial landscapes. I'm fascinated by this idea of juxtaposition: the urban and the rural, how these boundaries, like gender, are social constructs. That's kind of the idea behind the book. Muddling the two, exploring the gray in between. The wilderness in the most urban of landscapes. The humanity in nature.

At any rate, the book will be published in the fall! Hopefully just in time for the world to start opening up again! It actually comes at a very good time for me: next academic year, I will be on development leave, a sort of sabbatical, which will leave me some extra time to focus on getting the new book out into the world. All good things!

Here's my Napo 2. Onward!

Napo 2: Wrong Turn at 16 Years Old


A carful of sixteen-year-old girls,

Me, one of them, at the wheel.

The highway stretches before us

As night falls over this border town.


Where are we going? I don’t remember,

Only this: we got lost. This was a time

Before GPS or Google Maps,

All we had were the scrawled directions

And some street names like La Homa Rd

And Inspiration, and a sky filled with stars.


We took the road less travelled by,

That is, the caliche road that lead

Into a forest of orange groves.

What is it that when you get lost,

Out west of nowhere, that the heart

Fills with a mixture of fear and wonder?


And I turn to Anna, at my side,

And Esmer, in the backseat

With Kelli, and declare that I

Know where we’re going,


And we laugh. I did. We were together

Getting lost, getting found, the sky

Like an open palm stretched before us,

A beckoning into a world of shadows,

The moon a green light in the sky.


I knew it was the wrong road

And with the wisdom of a teenager,

I hit the gas and kept on driving down.

Editing in: When I go back to revise this poem, I want to write a feminist response to Frost. As women, we can't take the "road less traveled" because we're taught to be afraid. Thanks, rape culture. And yes, Frost, you're right "that" has made all the difference.