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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Prose Poem: 248 words
By Emilee Kinney

The muck ditch


sat spoiling and shriveled like forgotten fruit in the back of the fridge. Huddled between dense tree lines, two miles of oak and soybeans between itself and the dirt road only two families ever drove down. It swallowed the sharp smack of split wood in winter, steamed like a hot spring in summer. A mass of gnarled roots and manure, years of churned soil turned rotten. It’s a threat we swing as somewhere to stash bodies, but all it’s hiding is underaged drinking, matches from when we tried to light it on fire, the rock poachers threw at my brother, the body of a fawn that stumbled too far from its mother, bird bones and horsehair, and the four-wheeler we crashed last year. Wrapped its face around a birch tree, then pushed it into the mud and watched it sink. Once, I wore a broken ring until its false gold stripped away and it curled into the flesh of my finger. I wore it until dried blood crusted the crumbling band, until my skin purpled and crinkled with rot and my dad had to pry it out with tools, rusted and oil stained. When he told me to throw out the useless thing, I stood before the humming mass of the muck ditch, shook off my jacket and waded waist deep until my boots were sucked off, my bare feet digging, bleeding from broken branches, because this was the place meant for ruined things.


Emilee Kinney
Issue 10, October 2021

hails from the small farm-town of Kenockee, Michigan, only a couple miles from one of the Great Lakes: Lake Huron. She received her BA in Creative Writing and History from Albion College in Albion, Michigan and is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Kinney is an editor for Crab Orchard Review and MAYDAY and maintains her own website featuring contemporary poetry and book recommendations:


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