When I last saw you, you were wearing a pink shirt
and I was scared you might fall down or talk back,
you might crush to a dust of giggles.
Someday I’ll be married and my
full self will be someone else’s problem,
the arrangement, the allegedness, of portrait.
For now you don’t love me and in that decision
is boneless potential,
it skis the valley, wears pants.
My grandmother used to show me trees teenagers had carved into.
She said bad kids did it. They were birches, pee-yellow with
thinning shallow bark and they spat their tongues out.
Then I never saw those trees again
or maybe never walked that way again. They might
still be there. This means:
I never agreed to this. I am legs,
a matter of purpose regardless of want,
that lump out like birches in the stream,
that—two and white—mark their kind.

Rachel Hinton lives in Chicago, where she works as an editor. Her work has recently appeared in Cimarron Review and the Denver Quarterly.

*Image courtesy of Library of Congress.