When you are thirteen, sleepaway camp will bring you boobs, And freckles on your back that begin to molt, And a bathing suit that wears itself thin, And an extra pack of gum, And a girl who causes the man-made lake to quiver.
You’ll cut your hair short so you can dive off the dock, Pull her skin tight as you spread wax on a trembling thigh, Learn to hold your breath underwater, Pierce her ears so you’ll feel her breath on your neck.
But mud always swarms the moat that leads to water. Chewing gum grows stale. There is only so much that a girl like you can give. Her palm will weep as you carve your phone number alongside the other girls.
On the day that she sings the campfire blue, You will scoop the minnows From the water and let them flounder in her hands, Saying here, this is for you.
carving the staircase
once / i slept on hardwood floor and faced the woman in the fireplace / i let her talk to me in my sleep / i wrote a poem about dismembering the furnace / feigned horror in the basement with my cousin / once / i caught a shadow in the hall / tucked it in the corner of my eye / heard the scratch of a cat / i gave a doll a new name / suffered fingers tugging my lips wider / swatted away moths that cloaked the ceiling / once / i sang into the brick / swam into the crawlspace / and sank / took a ring that wasn’t mine / felt the bell toll and grasped onto its cry / stretched my skin lily-white / once / i haunted the house myself
Hannah Waldman is 18 years old, and currently studying at Temple University pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. She is bisexual and uses many of her experiences within her identity as fuel for her poetry. You can find Hannah on twitter: @waiksinbeauty