—a haibun

after supper she sends us out to play in the yard & get our ya-yas out,
one last hurrah of dirty bare feet & stinky little girl before bathtime,
then storytime, then bedtime. Sissy & I had drippy popsicles & we ran
to the farthest edge of the yard, to the border with the electric fence,
daring each other to touch it, spitting at it to watch it spit back sparks

shoeless toes flying
grass majesty a carpet
for the sons & heirs

but we were born daughters & although all of this is ours, somehow
none of it belongs to us. we will not know this until later, after we
don’t run barefoot in the backyard anymore, when we take showers
in the morning instead of baths at night & storytime is decided by
whoever gets to the clicker first. sometimes we’re not even home
for supper. Sissy got on drill team & only eats sugar-free popsicles now

running isn’t fun
there are electric fences
everywhere, unseen

once, I missed a fire ant hill hidden in the velvety green
whorls of monkey grass. before I knew it, hollow to the
shins in soft, crumbling architectures of ants, sickly white grubs
rolling between my toes before the burning poison sunk in as
each ant curled over on itself, stingers dug into my skin

poison teaches best
like fire, only blistered pain
trades knowledge for cures.

Allie Marini is a cross-genre writer holding degrees from both Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida. She has published a number of chapbooks, including Pictures from the Center of The Universe (Paper Nautilus, winner of the Vella Prize) and Southern Cryptozoology: A Field Guide to Beasts of the Southern Wild (Hyacinth Girl Press, finalist for the SFPA’s Elgin Award) In addition to her work on the page, Allie was a member of Oakland’s 2017 National Slam Team. A native Floridian now freezing to death in the Bay Area, Allie writes poetry, fiction, and essays. Find her online: www.alliemarini.com  | Twitter

What lessons have you learned from fire and poison? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: Flickr

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