WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY CARTWHEEL
The skinny girls could
kiss their hands to the crow-eaten field
swivel their hips, legs sailing through the air
like the propeller of an I'm-not-sorry engine,
but I couldn't. Said, must be too tall,
would rather stand here & shit talk,
pull hair, hold you by the arms & spin
& spin until our worthless bodies
sink to the pocked grass. I am always
out of breath or about to inhale
on a constricted sternum, which is to say
angry. Bigger than the boys.
Relying on the meanness of friends
to surpass the cruelty of the older girls who
all my life took pride in setting my hair
on fire, filling my mouth with worms.
I mean absent, I mean sick.
The school yard scaling over with
a summer heat that wouldn't quit, all of us
hanging by our knees in the moon
climb & I mean sucking it in,
waiting it out. Prayer for the hip-sway,
may it fall into all the right places.
Danielle Mitchell is winner of the 2015 Editor's Prize from Mary and a recipient of the Editor's Choice Award from The Mas Tequila Review. Her work is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, H_NGM_N and New Orleans Review. Danielle is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and poetry editor of Wherewithal. She lives in Long Beach, California where she is director of The Poetry Lab. Learn more about her at poetryofdanielle.com.