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Emily Kingery

is a poet and professor of English at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Her work appears widely in journals and has been selected for several honors and awards in poetry and prose. She is the author of the chapbook, Invasives (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming) and a member of the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization supporting writers in the Quad Cities community (

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Invasives is available for purchase through Finishing Line Press

INVASIVES is a dark daydream in a small Midwestern town: a place of hunger, dizzying narcotics, and dormant lies in children’s minds. Here, a coming-of-age story emerges in delectable scenes, words that open and close like petals, and images that knife as easily as if through stems. INVASIVES conjures familiar dangers, then slices them open and enchants them. It softens into myth a love that refuses to disappear.

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The dirt bike kid and the girls with yards of upside-down toys wept for the cat, loose with their sadness. 

She plays along with yeses; she understands that sweetness attracts bees

I unstrap my stilettos.
I stand barefoot in the lot and

he steals my half-gone Ring Pop
for his buttonhole, says dance

with me. He says dance with me,

bitch, and my blood is vodka,
and the white-bright music is his
hand at my back and my throat

opens to sing.

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