sarah in tree
Dirt Road Delirium
by Sarah Ann Winn

My clever fever’s a path of dreams
winding to a cool concrete stoop.
The aunts shadow the swinging screen door,
slip-shuffle decks, drink, smoke, and deal.

I sneak contraband Harlequin novels out,
climb the muscled maple tree; outstretched
branches help me up. Cat’s cradle loops
crook span, cut-off shorted Ariadne.

I’m proud of my ragged edges, my natural talent
for tripping the minotaur with red string.
I’m as at home in cropped hedges
as I am in the feral field across the road,

amid frowsy kindles of fuzzed milkweed,
a grey barn-full of kittens. From the dim
someone sings Loretta Lynn. A cloud
of blackbirds lifting may signal storms.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author at age eight in Barberton, Ohio.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I spent nearly every Sunday of my childhood at my mom’s mother’s house, a tiny white cracker box, where my sister and I “ran wild” in near-complete freedom. The exotica encountered there included romance novels, eight tracks full of country music (played as loudly as we wanted), and climbable trees. Soon after I left for college, a nearby quarry bought her land and the small house. It’s fenced off now, and only the barn is visible from the padlocked gate. I sometimes dream about those Sundays.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Ann Winn lives in Manassas, Virginia. Her work has appeared or will appear soon in Cider Press Review, Massachusetts Review, Nashville Review, Quarterly West, and RHINO, among others. Her hybrid piece, “Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive,” was a finalist for the Tupelo Quarterly Prose Annual contest. Sundress Publications released her chapbook, Portage, in February 2015. Visit her at or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.