We were birds then

at thirteen, a chime

of wrens chirping,

carbonated goddesses

blowing bubbles,

spilling secrets,

dancing the latest dances,

we did each others’ hair,

practiced kissing,

gossiped (a girl’s

first step toward insight),

we shook the magic eight ball,

could not imagine

a path toward our future —


we only knew we didn’t want

our mothers’ lives,

taking dictation,

cleaning up messes,

hiding tins of money,


we were angels falling,

wingless, trusting

the wind to lift

our bodies of light

far above the silver

water tower,

to let us down kindly

somewhere, anywhere

wild and broad and new.

— Debra Kaufman

Debra Kaufman’s latest collection of poetry is God Shattered.

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