seven pines



i was a boy until i wasn’t a boy / until you made me sure of it / a small god / we were in the tree / & you showed me / pulled it out of your shorts / & i walked home with urine in my hair /



so, fine, / so / i learned to dirty my pretty knees / started biting my lip til it bled / a bow in my hair seeing how far / i could spit the lipgloss / off of my mouth / spending all my leftover sunlight / with you & the others / hiding from the hunters we made ourselves into / when we lost / hunched in the marshgrass / eating frozen pizza in the driveway / stealing key limes / sucking them to the rind



& that time we were running / then: / face to dockwood / skinned my chin / what i thought / was bone deep / & you licked the red off of your palm / & you bent over the side / brought handfuls of dirty water / to pour over my face / the electric salt sting / how my mother made me wash it / twice when i got home /



remember when your neighbor would throw rocks at the schnauzers / so someone threw a rock through her window / & someone else was dared to try on the shock collar / & all we could do was watch as he convulsed on the pavement / one mississippi / two mississippi / three mississippi / before anyone helped him / you told me i could say shit so i did



so i said it again / when you slipped / breaking your arm on the pool deck / & i saw you cry / your bones / your blood staining the tan tile / like lipstick melting / red in all the little pools / & you asked for your mom / so i lost all fear for you



in 3rd grade i didn’t flinch when you called me pretty / even though i hadn’t gotten my period like the other girls / you liked / or in fourth grade when / you dared your friend to kiss me / with tongue / even though i had my playclothes on / how you held my arms down / watched /



& that night i filled my mouth with mud / until it was all i could taste




Katie Clark is newly twenty and working on loving the world. Katie is on staff at Vagabond City and has interviewed Franny Choi and Emily O’Neill, amongst others kind enough to share their time. Katie’s latest work can be found in Nostrovia!, CCM’s Shadow Map anthology, and Third Point Press.