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Julianna May

We are best friends

my brothers and I

two older, one younger,

play dress up:

they are cowboys, I

the princess

around which they gallop

Daddy points to me, asks

“who is she?”

one answers “sissy!”

“No, son

she’s the princess”

he lifts me up on

towering shoulders

and they chase him

trying to win me back until

girls have cooties and can

no longer play

in mud and hidden

teepee in the woods

they say dress up and pretend

are for sissies

but they hoist sails

on the playset –

captains of a ship that spits

out enemies

and I drown in onion grass till

Daddy puts me on

his shoulders, carries

me inside to baby sister

and mother at the stove.


Julianna May

A chill cowers 

in my fingertips 

like white ice over a field’s expanse

behind the red brick church.

Ghosts of children canter past

casting shoes and tights aside

after congregation choruses

"Amen" convening for corn and beef.


Laughter fogs the air,

ghost children hide behind

gray stones, marked birth

and death, catching breath.


When ice begins to melt,

sun rises, children solidify

to watch me

fade away

Julianna (she/her) is an ex-horse girl, ex-Christian, and ex-hetero. She loves teaching English and ranting about Shakespeare. She has previously been published in Crepe & Penn Magazine, Nightingale and Sparrow Magazine, Wingless Dreamer Anthology, and others.
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