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Bringing up the Nets by K.D. Harryman

Send your divers down to the green cold of childhood

with their flippers and air tanks.

Say Dredge it! and wait—

What do nets hold? What slips

and sinks into marsh?

Maybe you stabbed a bullfrog with a stick

or pounded the neighbor’s heart-shaped

buds to see if they bled, too.

Maybe you begged forgiveness, offered to rake her leaves.

Who snuck you into the woods?

Did your father kill a man?

Pull up the prison records. Skim court docs from the surface.

What mute fish rise and flash?

What child does not know knife, hook?

What are the catfish hiding?

Get the big nets.

Who got hit in the head with a hammer?

Whose dad died in the mine?

Who tied who to a chair and locked them in the garage?

Who overdosed? Shot himself?

Who burned to death?

Who walked into the lake and never came back?

Who made it to the other side?


K. D. Harryman is the author of Girls’ Book of Knots (BlazeVox[books], 2023). Her work has appeared in The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Series, Narrative, Cream City Review, The Greensboro Review, and Raleigh Review among others. She is the recipient of the 2019 Rumi Prize sponsored by Arts & Letters and the 2018 James Hearst Poetry Prize sponsored by North American Review. Her first book, Auto Mechanic's Daughter, was selected by Chris Abani for the Black Goat Poetry Series Imprint at Akashic Books in Brooklyn. She lives with her family in Los Angeles and served as Poetry Editor for Five South.


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