Virginia Was

by Bradley Trumpfheller

Bradley Trumpfheller

Virginia was until there’s willow on the cushions,

until half a decade of Mamaw in her green chair
watching the same eight nature documentaries.

Just an ounce of coffee & gusts of prairie grass by morning.
It’s not entirely aftermath

to say I don’t remember my great grandfather forgetting
the grocery lists he had to keep taped up by the door.

Virginia my mother’s name, my mother’s mother’s name.
Inheritance, I mean. Wild strawberries in the meadow. A hospital gown.

Virginia was until not remembering who I was.

Which presidents & funeral parlors now. Which pills not found
in my stomach. Which kin & kindling. Wild thistle, raspberry leaves.

Daughter, daughter, grandson, granddaughter.
No third namesake, no new tattoos.

Virginia & the end of metaphor. Virginia & opening every window.
Speculative rainfall. Imaginary cowlick.

& seeing the girl in the floor length skirt & combat
boots curtsy to the wren. The girl Virginia was

until a shadow box of not one dress.
Virginia, butch as a waxwing. I’m shaving

my shins & crossing the houseplants. I made up history
in spite of history. I blinked & was ancient. I winked & was

her granddaughter. Who else
could remember the girl I did not get to be?

A boy ago I was not this exquisite.
The xanax & the trumpet vine. The climbing rose & the milk.

The name I can’t admit to wanting is still the one she would have forgotten.

Virginia, there’s nothing left of the past tense.
Just some light I throw at the horizon & run toward

& run toward.

Last updated October 12, 2022