Listen: there was a time when I didn’t think I could go mad or bald either.
I was sitting on our back deck, my mother picking lice and summer
out of my hair with a fine-tooth comb, my brothers’ heads shaven
and liberated. I couldn’t be that, but I could still wear knee high
socks and short skirts, this before my calves ballooned out
to become my grandmother’s, before my father left, before
I was looking for a line between sex and baby one more time,
before my friends asked if I saw Britney Spears on TMZ. Look
how far the popstar has fallen, we laughed. We didn’t know how to be nice
to other women then, we just kept loving our fathers then, blindly,
swollen swallowed up with them. We just kept apologizing for all the
JT hearts we stiletto squashed then. Our own madness just a line beyond Sex
and Baby we hadn’t crossed yet, because they wanted us thumb
sucking and snake heavy shoulders so that our stage sweat pooled
and our young white heat might find a way to be innocent
and desired at the same time. They hadn’t seen us yet.
Our hands not around an umbrella’s neck
yet. We hadn’t learned to smash anything yet.
Morgan Eklund’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the North American Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, The Louisville Review, ABZ, Whiskey Island, and the Whale Road Review. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best New Poets anthology. She received the 2012 Emerging Artist Award from the Kentucky Arts Council and is the winner of the 2008 Sarabande Books’ Flo Gault Poetry Prize. Originally from Kentucky, she now lives in Chicago and is pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Northwestern University.