“They don’t know humans, so they are fearless.”
They, the girls, braid each other’s hair, slide on sandals
and grab thin, purple jackets they won’t need for the summer outside.
Below a furious drum of sun in skinny clouds,
color-drained weeds faint like discarded bits of sewing thread.
The stream is still trying, drooling down the hills to the heat-packed
stables. The horses are having more difficult births.
All the adults comment on how hot everything is,
how everything is beaten with heat. How neglected they feel by rain.
When Uncle Joe, heat-worn, comes looking for help
with the harvest, the girls take their books and run by the brook
and sit, feeding the mosquitos. The world is a sea of flesh.
They giggle and squirm, till the younger one jumps up, runs to the water,
grabs the rope, swings across. The other eyes the current,
stays on shore, braces while her sister pendulums
over frigid brook and fills the moment with glee.
Who will be in trouble if the rope, the moment, breaks?
They forget about their books, though reading is a required
bodily function, run home at the first spot of dark.
They do not yet see the shortage of ponies.
They do not know they need to say goodbye.
So they don’t. The world is open sea,
but not enough leagues will flush the need.
 Harper’s Magazine, March 2015.
Do you feel isolated, uncertain about where in the world your story might be welcome? Megan Wildhood can relate deeply – she feels like a misfit in most places so she’d like to start some conversations. She’s written about the various ways she’s felt like a misfit in The Atlantic, Litro Magazine, America Magazine and in her forthcoming chapbook Long Division and she would be honored to hear your own outsider experiences. Head on over to meganwildhood.com to connect.