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by Haley White


Bright sandy blocks, tarred road glistening

    with early summer heat, the shortcut

    through the graveyard after school, buried

    in this familiar suburban maze, mid-June.


You are fourteen and overnight you have

    a body, and they say your body is grown,

    and this calls for crude words, grown

    words, thrown like sloppy bombs

    from cars by men. Something about tits

    and ass, something about coming.


So you cut through the graveyard, you trample

    the ghosts and the freshly mown grass, the

    half-grown grass that reeks of summer.

    Your friend inhales deep and informs you

    that this is how the cut grass screams and

    you want to scream but instead you smile.


And when you are finally fifteen your smile

    earns you a sophomore who drives

    his dad’s old pickup truck to the skate park

    every afternoon, lounges in cheap sunlight,

    sells freshmen skinny seeded joints,

    sells you a saccharine daydream.


You ride in his passenger seat, glide steadily

    past the graveyard to the end of the world.

    The truck is nearly hanging in the ocean. Now

    all you need to do is smile and be soft and still

    as he teaches himself about your body, your half-

    grown body, your half-grown ass. Quiet

    as his hot breath fills your ear, something about coming.


And after you fall out of his truck onto your front lawn

    and climb the stairs you gape at the peeling walls

    in your childhood bedroom, and you are

    convinced that your body is a graveyard

    or an experiment or a vacant lot. You cannot

    stay asleep because you are desperate to evacuate

    this body, this half-grown graveyard crammed with ghosts.


Haley White

Haley White is an avid reader and writer of prose and poetry. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and English, and hopes to become a therapist specializing in female issues and trauma. She lives, reads, and writes in Beverly, Massachusetts. 

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