by Mary Warren Foulk
I remember running in circles, August grass crunching underfoot. Our parents’ boozy bickering and suburban neighbors barbecuing too close to the fence. “Faster,” he said. I was seven, maybe eight, following his command—anything for his praise. The summer had been too long, too lonely without him. “Faster,” he said. Raised to be a (tom)boy by our father, a southern debutante by our mother, I drifted in the tension between. My legs were strong. “Don’t look. Keep running.” What had he learned at that overnight camp? The one that took him so far away, eight weeks, an eternity. “Get ready.” For what? Legs – breath – attention – please … legs – breath – attention – please … the slow whistle of the lasso. My bare feet skimmed the brittle surface, then slightest burn of rope tracing shoulders, arms, legs. Ankles jarred together, locked in mid-air. An unforgiving lawn. I lay breathless and coiled.
Now, corralled. The girl in the white dress with bleeding knees.
Mary Warren Foulk’s work has appeared in VoiceCatcher, Cathexis Northwest Press, Yes Poetry, Arlington Literary Journal (ArLiJo, Gival Press), and Palette Poetry, among other publications. A graduate of the MFA Writing program at VCFA, Mary lives in western Massachusetts with her wife and two children. She is an educator, writer, and activist.