The Fieldstone Review

Girl Call

by Dorothy Neagle

I was a girl, meaning 
not allowed to touch my own body 

when it pleased me. Not allowed 
to bleed and show it. I had to hide

the blood and all its cousins. 
I had to lie about it. On our farm

I was allowed to be dirty, but I
could not be strong. When I reached 

my full height, I was not allowed
to own what I knew of where the 

briars broke my skin, how the 
green paint inside a blade of grass 

got inside the scratches, left me prickling 
when I went to bed without a bath. 

Fragile is what they called me instead.
But I remember, anyway, how I grew

up in the woods, inside of books, burned
my eyes looking up at the sky

and I touched what I liked, and I bled 
when I was ready, and I was rarely

your idea of clean, but whatever you 
thought clean was, you were wrong.