It Was Not an Emotion I Knew By Heart

For weeks, we had picked and stacked and boxed the fruit.
The thick sweet smell of ripe fruit followed me everywhere.
Yellow jackets swarmed the fallen fruit.
Days swelled thick and bloated until they blurred one into the next.
Then, the lightening came.
The way the wagon’s wood base rose without the weight it had carried once the apples were sold.
The way my body unwound over miles, and finally settled The way sleep spilled deliciously over the dark night like a dark, overpowering joy.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s poetry collection, There's a Ghost in this Machine of Air is forthcoming from Word Tech in 2015. Her first collection, Gold Passage, won the Trio Award and was published by Trio House Press in 2013. Her chapbooks Inheritance and The Flying Trolley were published by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry, essays and creative non-fiction have been published in Fence, Volt, The New Guard, Lake Effect, Sugar Mule, Calyx and many more journals. Dunkle teaches writing and literature at Napa Valley College. She received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University, and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University. She is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference.