Mosquitos~Stacey Balkun

Mosquitos
By Stacey Balkun

 

We lived for the cold
stream, waded in clear water

mosquito arms bramble-nourished,
red and swollen

like the nicks that would come
when we learned

to shave. We scratched slowly,
looked up when cars began to slow

past us, newly aware
of our chests poked against

our tee shirts. Everything itched:
sunburn, poison ivy and when

we walked too far to the public pool,
chlorine burned our eyes, stung

hidden skin, scars pink as apples
on our thighs. We crossed our arms

over cramping bellies, afraid
the men could smell our blood

or see the bulge of tampons
awkward in our pockets. We itched,

we always itched, two girls
sweet as fruit—

we never thought to bite back.

 

Stacey Balkun is the author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak (dancing girl 2016) & Lost City Museum (ELJ 2016). A Finalist for the 2016 Event Horizon Science Poetry Competition as well as the Center for Women Writer’s 2016 Rita Dove Award, her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Muzzle, Bayou, and others. A 2015 Hambidge Fellow, Stacey served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2013. She holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches poetry online at The Poetry Barn.

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