Jun 25

Sunburnt

I miss girlhood.
My bones ache with the longing of it,
The way that our legs would swing
Around the metal of the monkey bars
Warmed by the afternoon sun
Shoved uncomfortably under our knees,
Our hands reaching for the mulch.

Yes, I miss girlhood.
My mismatched clothes didn’t mean anything
Because they would become dirty 
By the mid-afternoon, dirt-smudged across 
The squirrels that were embroidered onto my shirt.
This was long before I saw a man behind me 
When I looked in the mirror. This was long before 
I needed to look good in case I ran into someone 
In the middle of the woods. 

Can you please take me back 
To the summer-tinted pictures. I mostly want to 
Go back because my skin was clear then but 
Also because I can still feel the imprints that 
The grass made on my knees after I crouched down for too long, 
Red pressing their patterns into my skin for long 
After I had sat there. 

I ache for the way I would fall asleep gently,
The soft light from the lamp rocking me to sleep,
My head falling onto the book in my hands,
The feeling of being carried into bed, the feeling of flying,
The feeling that the world could be contained into 
The four walls of my bedroom and nothing more,
That the universe was kind. I remember the universe,
It used to be kind. 

I miss girlhood, I miss the way 
We would make potions out of backyard greenery,
Tearing up the lawn for a piece of undrinkable joy.
I miss when I did not have anything better to do than
Pluck up the yarrow that grew between the stones of my driveway 
And force the clumps into my sister’s arms.
Can you imagine not being afraid of mysterious drinks?
I remember it, I think, in the back of my mind, 
The safety in knowing the world (also known as the backyard) was mine. 

I miss girlhood.
The world is not mine now. 
The universe is not kind now.
There are no monkey bars at my knees,
There are no plants at my feet.
I want to go back and feel the sun across my skin
Before I ever worried about being burnt.