The mothers needed to prove they were women roughly once a year. Each hour the hour approached they drove with their children up near Tallulah Falls to pose-perch on mossed rocks in lingerie from Maud’s, touting leg amongst fern as intricate lacy robe hems fell back. The children were old enough to know the pictures were for calendars for their fathers on Christmas Day. They were young-old enough to know they probably didn’t want to know more. They understood they had been brought along for one reason alone. It was their task to stand sentry amongst rocks and pinecones, yelling back up the trail as soon as any innocent Gilpin-hikers appeared (despite Wordsworth, there really is a possibility for way, way too much picturesque). All the rest of that week, one girl would toss in her bed and dream that she alone had to stand there again for re-takes while the other children were allowed to stay at home and eat orange-lime swirl sherbet and play Candy Land and laugh at the peanut brittle house’s funny peanut hull mailbox with its tender little red flag scrap. All the burden fell squarely on her, the sole Wallenda suspended high above the falls on a wire, an out of water fish trembling in sweat and sequin as she scoured the earth and sky for any sudden movement, snapping twigs, scattering pebbles, rustling mountain laurel, an alarming blur of blue canvas backpack moving too quickly though the trees.
Jenn Blair's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Berkley Poetry Review, Rattle, Copper Nickel, Superstition Review, New South, South Carolina Review, Appalachian Heritage, Pembroke magazine, The Chattahoochee Review, Adirondack Review, McNeese Review, and Flock among others. Her poetry manuscript Malcontent is out from Press Americana and her chapbook The Sheep Stealer is out from Hyacinth Girl Press. She teaches part-time at the University of Georgia.