Pause for poetry:
Willow Loveday Little /2

Girlhood Extinct

By Willow Loveday Little

That old swing-set in the backyard
Whose shadow cascaded into
Woods beyond.

Cardigan wrapped tightly, bunched
Up wrists, we traipsed
In wellington boots passing trees
Drenched auriferous by a sun
Setting like egg yolk spilling into
Solid white cloud.

We understood the song of speckled starling,
Could read elements in plants and
Knew acidity of soil changed hydrangea
Fervent pink, blue, pale yellow.
Our lips a litmus test to the magic of
Thicket at night. Incorruptible as dusk flower.

We laughed at how easy the knowledge
Was; While our classmates drew
Red mushrooms dotted with white,
We saw their innocence; knew the
Fungi in question, deadly fly agaric
Venal as nightshade.

We foraged for spongy morels, elegant
Trumpets of chanterelle, boletus,
Gorged upon chicken-of-the-woods
Which jutted forth in coral shelves.
Always present the thrill of
Misdiagnosis, of poisoned breath
Collapsing catatonic—
Claimed by wildflowers, each one a corpuscle
Of the forest’s anatomy.

We escaped into a world where we
Were peasants, baked mud pies,
Dug glass bottles from ancient
Market paths, marvelled at
The lunar moth, emerged ephemeral
From our cocoons amid the frenzy of
Ants beneath the moon, rubbed
Our skin with lavender, rinsed feet
In brooks whose babble grew husky
At the advent of stars, and
Metamorphosed into women.

Blouses tightly buttoned in class
The following days we knew life
Had been bowdlerized, reduced to
The whisper of an innuendo. Felt
It in every white blood cell of our
Chaste bodies, each mote of dust
Hovering in the air between us and
The blackboard was an invitation.
But memory of hooded foxglove
And faces knit from gnarled bark
Began to fade.

Stubborn, we wrote goblins and greenery
Into our essays until we could no longer.


Feature image: PixabayBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

Read also: other articles by Willow Loveday Little

Willow Loveday Little -

Willow Loveday Little is Montreal-based writer and poet whose work has appeared in The Dalhousie Review and on Write or Die Tribe. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and is a contributor to Graphite Publications and Medium. You can find her on Medium, or at Instagram handle @willowloveday

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