Adolescence, Mary Wall

My tiny feet, bare, caked with clay from
the creek bed’s floor behind our A-frame.
The briars would
carve maps into my legs-

stories of my adventures in the woods that day.


My stringy hair, the rat’s nest,
and how it used to be so black.
Now it lightens with my age.
Momma could never brush out the tangles.
I would scream, and she would
find ticks. So many
sweet releases of those blood sucking fuckers
from my tender scalp.
The thrill when Daddy lit their asses on fire.


I think of the bridge, with every other board
missing. The one that hovers
over the part of the water where the copperheads lie.
I never dared to walk its planks
until one day.
I think of that day and my walk over the bridge.


I found wild blackberries and wild
raspberries on the other side.
Their juices tasted like adolescence.