she had fallen off the cliff
of adolescence. On the back porch
she sat humming to the crusts
of her sandwich, her mother
in the kitchen behind her, a radio
jabbering, spoons clattering
gently in the sink. The sun caught
a caterpillar bumping along
a loose step. How would it ever
learn to fly? An afternoon so ordinary
she couldn’t imagine its extinction.
This was back when clouds
were for dreaming and tweets
were for birds. Before everything
sped up. This was before
she’d even begun to feel
her own blood curl
like a whisper of smoke, flicker
turn unsteadily to flame.
This was before
embarrassment tried to kill her.
© by Ginny Lowe Connors.
Used with the author’s permission.