A Red Tricycle in the Belly of the Pool – Karyna McGlynn

A Red Tricycle in the Belly of the Pool

the live oak over the nursery got a disease
they could only save one limb
it wasn’t surprising; it wasn’t that kind of nursery

a girl rode her red tricycle around the bottom of the pool
the pool had no water; it hadn’t rained

the girl kept smelling her hand
it smelled like honeywheat, or the inside of a girl’s panties

someone said, race you
she nodded okay and pedaled like hell
after three laps no one had passed her

she looked over her shoulder, lost her balance
ripped her hands & knees on the blue concrete

the one limb on the live oak curved like a question
would she need stitches again

there was already ink under her skin & iodine on her tongue
or was it the other way around

she could see black thread bunching
sewing centipedes under her skin

her throat burned and she couldn’t move her legs
it wasn’t a tricycle
it was something she couldn’t get her foot out from under

she hated to stop or lose her shoe and, I’m sorry
the pool was full of water

Can we just stop and appreciate how fucked up this it? (And yes, I will argue that that word is appropriate here.) My jaw literally dropped. I had to pick it up and rehinge my upper teeth to my lower.

This. Is. So. Good.

I am not usually a fan of poetry that doesn’t use important grammatical punctuation marks like, you know, periods. It didn’t bother me here, though, I actually thought what she did worked really well for this poem.

Some day, in the future, when the clouds part and I have time in my schedule, I’m going to try to start doing close readings of poems and short stories I admire because I think doing that is a really useful way to learn and grow and all those things writers need to do. In the meantime…

Well, in the meantime here’s this beautiful poem.

(Also, Donald Hall’s Safe Sex has really been on my mind lately, too. I know I’ve posted it before, but here’s all that awesomeness again. It’s an experience, this poem. And it also doesn’t use periods! Connection!)

Safe Sex

If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;

if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other

as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,

no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated

apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge

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