Lost City
Scott T. Starbuck

17-year-old Alana from Arkansas who was raped by her fourth stepfather
loved violets and old Westerns.

She lived in a school bus at the end of a dirt road
and had no visitors save the few who could be trusted.

Once we found a note in a bottle in nearby river
that merely said “Help me” leading to made-up stories

far truer than either of us admitted.
After drive-in movies, she sang Irish tunes,

and freckles on her left cheek lit a constellation
of Ursa Major. Later, I dreamed her hands were a moonlit pond

that could drown cockroach ghosts emerging
from my alcoholic father’s voice and my shaving cuts,

that my writing lived by huge propane storage tanks
that could explode anytime.

Scott T. Starbuck’s next book is Hawk on Wire: Ecopoems (Fomite, 2017). He was a Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the “Speak Truth to Power” Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference, an Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island, writer-in-residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and 2016 PLAYA climate change resident in poetry. His eco-blog, Trees, Fish, and Dreams, with audio poems is at riverseek.blogspot.com.