B.L. Gentry

B.L. Gentry
B.L. Gentry's poetry is forthcoming in 2011 in Rhino. Gentry was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. She holds a B.A. from the University of New Mexico, and is an M.F.A. student in the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. She lives in Oklahoma.


Just when he was about to show
me how to drive, I stole
the snowmobile. Just shot out
from the bank and left
the fisherman and his flapping scarf
marooned in snow.
I'd figured it out, heard enough to know
about the gas tank, and the key,
the red lever I pushed to go,
how the front fender's hollow
back would hide the inch of my shin,
bristled and innocuous as cookie dough,
exposed between the cuff of my coveralls
and borrowed shoes. I knew it all. I was glad
to be rid of his eel's face,
the closeness of his skin,
pocked red and white.
What he wanted, I had to know
somewhere in my frozen
brain. Breath that had bent too
close for miles at the back
of my helmet dissipated
in the arctic air as through a low
hedge I roared, and onto a lake,
following tracks a caribou
had scattered, as if in a hurry
to split the air and snow,
with no thought to what his hooves might punch through,
if he stopped long enough,
the black ice swathed in snow.


Across linoleum, morning glories
suck their color
back into themselves, small
faces obscured by dirt.
You can barely see
their scars, violence
that blows like chinking
among broken chair legs, between
walls spitting out teeth,
and a broom's cracked
body propped in the corner.