Leaving Knoxville By Britt DiBartolo

Leaving Knoxville

Stalking the start of a poem, no invocation left
for me        no love       no thing left to miss & nothing

more to pack. Each earthly      object tight
in boxes lifted from the liquor store

whose proprietor winked at me & said: cutting out of dodge?
Every man        a wolf, I blinked, quoting Cher’s Moonstruck.

Amid bleak traffic, outside hell highway near Strawberry Plains, I see her:
dead fox on the road, intact &       embering.

Great, time to interpret–

fresh diploma breathing heavy in the backseat
but I’m tired, emptied, unimaginative

what to make          of all these dead foxes
& what to do with these wiles

what have they brought you     us, love? Still,
I’m leaving Tennessee for good, tail

between my legs, lost, to deep Maine
far north as I could go, my animal-mirror somewhere

along the way          licked-clean
then buried, but where         the poem

paces on ahead      pissing on everything      a place where
arriving & leaving are the same

somewhere      my head on your chest
I still hear you       asking in your low throaty thrum

what the spaces in my poems meant         they mean
if I went feral      love, leave me there.

By Britt DiBartolo


Britt DiBartolo is a poet living in western North Carolina. She recently graduated with her Master’s in English literature from the University of Tennessee. Her poems have appeared in Headwaters & an anthology of emerging North Carolinian poets from Z-Publishing. She received the Carl Sandburg Award in Poetry from the University of North Carolina in 2018. Though she still has never found a four-leaf clover on her own, she remains vigilant.

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