A History of Lines


Some things are more important than others, Maggie
would say, her shadow in the grass,

unwinding. The fantasy book she’d read was always
the same. Written inside the cover: For “little one,

may it bring you joy. As a girl, Maggie, in the grass
then, too, in the same yard, would imagine

herself slaying the book’s dragon, broadsword heaved,
magic in mind, both warrior and wizard.

To the neighbors, she was a figure in the funny hat
Mumbling to her mother’s daylilies. Her

mother, mathematician of heart, sat concocting,
endlessly calculating the precise probability

a hawk would hunt an eagle instead of a rabbit.
Everything is important. The stuffed bunny

she bought for Maggie’s small hands, the strung
longbow sewn to its paw and shield stitched to its back,

was more so than most. It was Maggie’s hope
as an adult predators wouldn’t choose the helpless.

Little M, she’d name her baby, and the book
would be M’s, too, like the name, like the grass

Maggie had claimed, next to the tree suitable
for such a mini-mage in reading glasses, such a sprawling

shadow wonder, flipping the pages ever in search
of her ancestors and their giants, their monsters,

their loves and their open hearts. Nothing can snap
the metal of a child’s imagination. No one noble would

want to. And Maggie, once her mighty Little M. could
annihilate cereal and don bedsheet as cape, wooden spoon

as scepter, would allow the possibility the hawk might
strike, because she knew full well it would be struck.

Brian D. Morrison completed his MFA at the University of Alabama, where he was an assistant editor at Black Warrior Review. His poetry has appeared at West Branch, Bitter Oleander, Verse Daily, Copper Nickel, Cave Wall, and other journals. He is a former administrator and event coordinator of Slash Pine Press. Currently, he works as an Assistant Professor of English at Ball State University.


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