Girlhood

If your bearded friend
helps you catch the trout
barehanded
in the pool of the dream
and you carry it in his pail
barefoot
up the rocky stream
to the playhouse where he fries it in his pan;
if you snip the dill
for the carrots and then swim
until your lips are bluer than the lake
where will it take you?
Not anywhere as pure
and primal as these sunstruck days
sistered by starstruck nights.
Don’t cloud the drowning
brightness of your eyes,
don’t answer my asking look
with anything but the truth,
don’t spill the fresh-picked
raspberries on the car seat
and stain your shirt with indelible blood.

Or spill them, darling.
How else will you know
the color of crushed time;
how else will you feel
what it is to change and remember,
to lose and absorb
this summer inside you,
xylem and phloem of your leafy future
already starting to spread its shade above us?


Jonathan Galassi, “Girlhood” from North Street and Other Poems (New York: HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Jonathan Galassi. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: North Street and Other Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 20002001)
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