(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
Table Of Contents
Acknowledgments & Links



Liz Lochhead

My little sister likes to try my shoes, to strut in them, admire her spindle-thin twelve-year-old legs in this season's styles. She says they fit her perfectly, but wobbles on their high heels, they're hard to balance. I like to watch my little sister playing hopscotch, admire the neat hops-and-skips of her, their quick peck, never-missing their mark, not over-stepping the line. She is competent at peever. I try to warn my little sister about unsuitable shoes, point out my own distorted feet, the callouses, odd patches of hard skin. I should not like to see her in my shoes. I wish she could stay sure footed, sensibly shod.


Liz Lochhead

I can remember once being shown the black bull when a child at the farm for eggs and milk. They called him Bob--as though perhaps you could reduce a monster with the charm of a friendly name. At the threshold of his outhouse, someone held my hand and let me peer inside. At first, only black and the hot reek of him. Then he was immense, his edges merging with the darkness, just a big bulk and a roar to be really scared of, a trampling, and a clanking tense with the chain's jerk. His eyes swivelled in the great wedge of his tossed head. He roared his rage. His nostrils gaped. And in the yard outside, oblivious hens picked their way about. The faint and rather festive tinkling behind the mellow stone and hasp was all they knew of that Black Mass, straining at his chains. I had always half-known he existed-- this antidote and Anti-Christ his anarchy threatening the eggs, well rounded, self-contained-- and the placidity of milk. I ran, my pigtails thumping on my back in fear, past the big boys in the farm lane who pulled the wings from butterflies and blew up frogs with straws. Past thronged hedge and harried nest, scared of the eggs shattering-- only my small and shaking hand on the jug's rim in case the milk should spill.

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