Webs and Weeds

By Colleen J. McElroy b. 1935
Sidewalks of webs and weeds
Run parallel to empy lots where foul deeds
By handkerchief heads and winos were played,
To that old house where we stayed.
Irma Jean, Cora Jean and I, three debs,
Against the cracks of weeds and webs.

Sitting through matinees, dodging chores,
Chewing gum; claiming boys were bores.
But secretly grooming hair and breasts;

Jennie’s brood, a female nest.
Irma, long-legged, delicious full lips,
Taught Cora and me to wiggle our hips.
George Darlington Love, a beau, my first;
They yelled his name like a tribal curse

As his virginal fingers pressed our bell.
Against that background of sights and smells,
We ignored switchblades, zip guns, and knees
Shattered by cops in that place without trees.
Now memories of dances are sprinkled like seeds
Among cousins and sidewalks of webs and weeds.

Colleen  J.  McElroy, “Webs and Weeds” from What Madness Brought Me Here: New and Selected Poems, 1968-1988. Copyright © 1990 by Colleen  J.  McElroy.  Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: What Madness Brought Me Here: New and Selected Poems 1968-1988 (Wesleyan University Press, 1990)

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Poet Colleen J. McElroy b. 1935

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Nature, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Class

 Colleen J. McElroy

Biography

Colleen McElroy was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to a military family that moved often. She earned a PhD in ethnolinguistic patterns of dialect differences and oral traditions from the University of Washington. McElroy has written short stories, plays, television scripts, and nonfiction; her collections of poetry include Winters without Snow (1979); Queen of the Ebony Isles (1984), winner of the American Book Award from the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Nature, The Body, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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