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February 20, 2014 Poetry

Three Poems

Rachel Harthcock

Three Poems photo

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Marigolds bowed out to October as ashes to ashes
sometimes can mean nothing, Andrew said to me
when we were watching
Daria. He was in love with
his girlfriend Teeny, how her nails always looked
soft as she pinched a spliff up to her lips and how
she went out to the edge of the courtyard during B Lunch
to smoke with a few of her girlfriends. I could never
be a girl who wears a bikini top in place of a bra
like all the other girls in South Florida, who put vodka
in their Gatorade bottles and were, I think, much happier

than me at seventeen, when I listened to Billie Holiday
trying to pick out how far along her heroin addiction was
as she sang in various recordings. I worried
I smelled like the chapped lips of a 7
th grader. Now

I worry wearing eyeliner is making me look too politicized.

Andrew was a high school friend I lost my virginity to
as we studied for an AP test and while he was dating Teeny.

We planned to use cacophony in the essay portion of the exam.
As he pulled my pants
down, I looked out the living room window and watched a girl
with a bleached out bob chewing gum, laughing.
Her boyfriend kissed into her ear as she lifted
her right leg up to tie her shoe. All around her the humidity
layering like braids.


In Dreams

                                      for my dad, william marshall

I will listen to Roy Orbison and I will take off my makeup with face wipes.

All life emerges from the organization of elements.

I will change out of the lace sack dress and change into a white v-neck, brown leggings.

I have a paint sample in my throat. I have images in my lower back.

Images on a screen to emerge through an organized light pattern.

Walking to the liquor store, I will pet a dog named Kelly and I will think his name as

George. I will say to him, “hi, cute baby guy,” and his owner will say, “yeah,”

stretching out the A-sound.

I am skin and moles.

I will give birth to dog people.




I understand my own smallness.

Also I understand my routines, habits.

I undress in my sleep.

Morning Edition drives me to school.

I remember my Dad’s joke “Hihowareyou?mmgood” was one of my favorites of his,

Central Texas accent like a flask tucked behind a belt buckle.

I am not even being dramatic, I do not know how to estimate.

this student said by my saying, try numbers 7 and 8,

which is a thing called gradual release, catch and release, I do/we do/you do.

I laughed which is a thing I do when I realize their 11-year-oldness.

I love my students but am having a hard time being a teacher.

I’ve told eight people ‘I love you.’

I love you feels passé now.

I love you feels like, I can’t get a cab and everyone is watching.

But I have to make this dumb effort. 


image: Heather Reynolds