Ode to Girlhood
i. On mornings like this, you drown your limbs to watch how bathwater blurs a body. Sunlight has made true the bruises on your hip, blood rising skin-deep on a girl learning to ache. Ma taught us how women preserve & decay anything that enters their flesh—a mound of red rice, a pounding from a man who drinks beer under lights slick as oil.
ii. I once saw a boy spilling lovely circles of salt on the sidewalk. When he stood, I counted eight slugs calcified in mute frost, water siphoned from every cell. See how they writhe in silent bodies that never belonged to them? At dusk, men throw salt on your skin and watch you squirm, the weight of white in their palms, the liminal wait.
Anne Kwok is a National Student Poet semifinalist and Foyle Young Poet. She has been honored by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, National Poetry Quarterly, the Apprentice Writer, and Smith College. She will graduate from Milton Academy in Milton, MA in 2021. Her work is published or forthcoming in Hyphen Magazine, Oberon Poetry & Half Mystic.
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