Poetry: Rachel Khosrowshahi’s “Out Walking”

////Poetry: Rachel Khosrowshahi’s “Out Walking”


Out Walking
Rachel Khosrowshahi

Image: “Approach” by Mark Dunst.

We wore a path between our houses
through the tobacco field
where our parents worked.
Parts of your family were gone
Your Dad was gone,
I never asked where.
In his place were brothers,
with guns and radios.
And a Sister
who died in the upstairs room
from leukemia,
though I never heard you say the word.
Your House was big,
bigger than ours,
and cold.
The lights were cut off.


At night your brothers
pissed in a lard bucket
in the kitchen.
If there was a bathroom
I didn’t see it.
Some of the rooms
were blocked off with old quilts
You had purses with cigarettes
and lipstick.


Your brothers were always walking
to town, starting in the morning
and coming back at night.
When you fought with
your boyfriends
they worried the gravel road
for hours.
“Here Comes Jodie May, Out walking”
If Papaw caught you on the road
he would recruit you for church.
Sometimes you came to our house
asking for cold cuts or a pop.
Sometimes you bathed there.
Sometimes Mama checked
you for nits.
Sometimes you walked
a mason jar of Kerosene home
to treat your heads.
Sometimes you came back more than once.
It wasn’t until years later,
After I was grown with kids,
It all came back to me.
Rising up like grass after a prairie fire,
I realized that we weren’t blood kin,
that your Mama died
of an aneurysm
walking that path.




About the writer:
Rachel Khosrowshahi lives inaudibly in rural Kentucky with her children.

About the image:
From the series Allusive Presence, “Approach,” by Mark Dunst. Acrylic on canvas. 8″ x 10″.

Artist statement:
Mark Dunst is a visual artist and painter living in Portland, Oregon. In recent years, Mark has transitioned from figurative and landscape work to working non-objectively where there’s a more direct connection between what he’s feeling and what ends up on the canvas. He strives to be comfortable in a place of not knowing which he says is a constant back and forth between doubt and acceptance. The marks on the surface document this struggle and only when he lets go of expectations does he start liking what’s happening on the canvas.

At its core he’s searching for balance between tension and tranquility. Trying to find some sort of reconciliation where these dichotomies can aesthetically coexist. The brushstrokes record moments of excitement, frustration, mindfulness, and uncertainty and reveal the painting’s history—its story. When asked why he paints, he thinks for a bit and finally says, “I think I paint to answer questions I don’t know how to ask.”



By | 2018-02-05T19:03:40+00:00 February 5th, 2018|LITERARY ARTS, Narrative, Poetry|