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This Was Before
Ginny Lowe Connors

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.


Ginny Lowe Connors is a retired English teacher and the author of four full-length poetry collections and a chapbook, Under the Porch, which won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. She runs a small poetry press, Grayson Books, and is co-editor of Connecticut River Review. Ginny has also edited a number of poetry anthologies, including Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
You've nailed it, Ginny. I love the transcendent quality of this poem
Posted 03/27/2014 07:03 PM
That painful and wonderful transition is so beautifully expressed here.
Posted 03/27/2014 11:14 AM
such a perfect description of two lost places--adolescence and the way our world used to be...beautiful!
Posted 03/27/2014 09:07 AM
Very moving piece, especially the line: "An afternoon so ordinary she couldn't imagine its extinction." Also liked imagery of deferred development of the caterpillar vis a vis the narrator's sense of the end of childhood tranquillity and ordeals of adolescence.
Posted 03/27/2014 08:40 AM
Beautiful. Love the title, love every line.
Posted 03/27/2014 08:33 AM
Richard Greene:
A fine poem, show not tell, powerful observation and metaphor, the universal evoked by the specific.
Posted 03/27/2014 08:29 AM
Great little poem. Love the last line!!
Posted 03/27/2014 08:17 AM
Cheers to those afternoons so ordinary! As a retired English teacher, I could see students using this poem as a model to write their own poems about "this was before." Great last line!
Posted 03/27/2014 07:35 AM
Gilbert Allen:
My favorite phrase is "humming to the crusts / of her sandwich." Evocative indeed!
Posted 03/27/2014 07:19 AM
I love the way this one draws its closing--how immediate, how forceful and full of perspective, and even how trivial all at once!
Posted 03/27/2014 05:36 AM

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