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by frithar

Daughter of a Den Mother, I'm taken to trail behind brothers 
and boys. They make me watch the stab of worms to hooks. These 
they offer to soggy dark gods. They wipe blood and worm on their 
shorts. The worms don't hear, "sorry," but I say it. We're up early 
enough for dew and just enough fog that I sneak away to walk the 
woods-trail. Caterpillar grass strokes my legs and I want to scratch 
but I have to get into trees before Mummy sees me, drags me back 
to boys. Evergreens are best for hiding, branched low and thick. In 
deep now, I fill one pocket in pinecones, one in acorns. These I drop 
to mark my way when I Hansel-and-Gretl my way off-path to find 
the animals that talk. Crickets call and I follow. The path is steep but 
I'm racing velvet chipmunks and now I'm atop a small cliff, that fast.
Below I see boys dangling feet in water, splashing. Adults at the back, 
arm-folds or smoking. Sun-flash, Mummy spreads foil over fire. Behind 
me, flower fields. Flickery blues that crave petal-picking. Candy-scented
sweet peas to come home. I string them in the knots of my hair, listening 
to the songs of bees. I find them near an apple tree, tasting the fallen. I 
steal in, grab. They ignore me. There is plenty. I eat as many as I can, 
toss them my cores and study ant paths. Black ants don't bite, so I let 
some crawl up to lick the juice that sticks in stripes on my arms, then 
brush them back to ground. This wind, green and rich. This sun sugars 
my skin. So soft, these grasses... My name. I hear my name. I hate my 
name. She is angry. She is worried. She is angry. I am grabbed by my arm 
before I can rise. "I have been calling you! Everyone is looking for you!"
On the way home, we stop at the abandoned cemetery so Vernon 
can tip standing stones and find snakes. I'm not allowed out so I kick 
the backseat, pick at the vinyl and try to remember what the dragonflies 
had been saying when she grounded me to her world with that name.

Appeared in 2016 issue of The Loyalhanna Review

89th Weekly Poetry Contest