Fierce Girl Playing Hopscotch

By Alice Fulton b. 1952 Alice Fulton
You sway like a crane to the tunes of tossed stones.
I am what you made to live in
from what you had: hair matted as kelp, bad schools.

Oh, you will never know me. I wave and you go
on playing in the clouds
boys clap from erasers. I am the pebble
you tossed on the chalked space and war-
danced toward, one-leg two-leg, arms treading air.

In this, your future, waves rechristen the sea
after its tiny jeweled lives
that hiss “Us Us” to the shore all day.
Where’s the kid called Kateydid? the moonfaced
Kewpiedoll? The excitable pouting
Zookie? The somber O-Be-Joyful?

Lost girl, playing hopscotch, I will do what you could.
Name of father, son, ghost. Cross my heart and hope.
While the sea’s jewels build shells and shells
change to chalk and chalk to loam and gold
wheat grows where oceans teetered.

Used by permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (March 1985).


This poem originally appeared in the March 1985 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

March 1985
 Alice  Fulton


Poet and writer Alice Fulton was born in 1952 and raised in Troy, New York. She earned a BA at Empire State College and an MFA from Cornell University. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Dance Script with Electric Ballerina (1982), which won an Associated Writing Programs Award; Palladium (1986), winner of the National Poetry Series; Powers of Congress (1990; reissued 2001); Sensual Math (1995); Felt: Poems . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.