girlwood: a treasury for the lost (excerpts)


        If I had the chance, I’d ask the world to dance.

        —Billy Idol


It was as if the higher the boot the higher up

the leg. I loved your zipper jeans, the gold-toothed smile,

the navel-to-tailbone confidence, your Billy Idol hips.

I loved your tough-stand at recess, the way you wore your flaws

like a space between the teeth holding a straw

and later a smoke. How you knew what fucking was

before you knew the word. Breathe you would say, breathe.


        The sky can be so clear, like methane or something in an unmarked bottle.

        The sky can be glassed with rain.


Fake the inhale. Sliding the 45 down

the back of your pants as your older sister curled up

on the bench seat of your parents’ Buick

the way she curled up around you

in front of the tv when the witch’s feet shrivelled

on The Wizard of Oz.


        Inside a brown sky of exhaust, dreams of lifting.


Walking with a grade 5 patrol’s feeling of power.

The red “Bar Is Open” light and your back-combed hair

starched in a coffin. Make a wish,

you said, handing over the Dancing with Myself vinyl

and a gold-glitter star

eraser that I dulled on my binder, locker doors

to clear your name.

for M.K.