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



Rita Dove

In water-heavy night behind grandmother's porch We knelt in the tickling grasses and whispered: Linda's face hung before us, pale as a pecan. And it grew wise as she said: "A boy's lips are soft, As soft as baby's skin." The air closed over her words. A firefly whirred near my ear, and in the distance I could hear streetlamps ping Into miniature suns Against a feathery sky.


Rita Dove

With Dad gone, Mom and I worked The dusky rows of tomatoes. As they glowed orange in sunlight And rotted in shadow, I too Grew orange and softer, swelling out Starched cotton slips. The texture of twilight made me think of Lengths of Dotted Swiss. In my room I wrapped scarred knees in dresses That once went to big-band dances; I baptized my earlobes with rosewater. Along the window-sill, the lipstick stubs Glittered in their steel shells. Looking out at the rows of clay And chicken manure, I dreamed how it would happen: He would meet me by the blue spruce, A carnation over his heart, saying, "I have come for you, Madam; I have loved you in my dreams." At his touch, the scabs would fall away. Over his shoulder, I see my father coming toward us: He carries his tears in a bowl, And blood hangs in the pine-soaked air.

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