Hearst Castle

Natalie Dunn

It was summer, remember, because of the lilacs? I held a large bunch of them in my lap for the eight hours we drove north. The car, a cavern. Of orange peel. Bread crumb. Shapeless ghosts of gas station receipts. You wanted to see the zebras. Hoping, for a rare thing. I drove and you dismantled bread. Pulling at its soft and hard parts. Spooning butter and jam on the soft parts. Feeding them to me. We talked of the different blues of distance. My capriciousness for sex. The melon of the moon. You got tired. A family of quail in a line in front of us. The road, full of cars.  I squeezed the wheel. THUD (the mother) thud thud thud thud (the chicks). Like hooves on packed dirt. Kind of beautiful. I cried and turned to you but you were asleep. I didn’t wake you.


Natalie Dunn is a poet and sexual health educator living in Oakland, California. Her work explores themes of memory, agency, gender, and consent. Her poetry and writing has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Entropy Magazine, and Siglio Press.