This Was Before

I get a poem in my email every day, and I try to read it first thing when I get to work. It helps get my mind charged and ready to go. Most of the time they are a little too flowery for me….I need a little emotion and meaning in my poetry, not so many grassy fields. But, every once in awhile I’ll come across one that means something to me. This one, from March 27, made it into my journal, so I thought I’d share it today. It reminds me of growing up on my dad’s farm, before the internet, back when I was a tomboy and spent most of my time outside.

This Was Before

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.

–Ginny Lowe Connors


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