you are in the diode archives diode v5n2



North Carolina College for Women

We knew we were women.
I mean, there were boys about

and we knew that need.
We also had the need

to be taken seriously
outside of our hometowns,

away from parents and secrets
we didn’t want to discuss.

When we went home we were still girls,
and we didn’t want that

so we didn’t go.
We stayed on campus for the weekend 

and bought greasy cheeseburgers
and danced at clubs

and slept with boys. But the next day,
we didn’t mention the boys.

We shared poems and maybe
the latest oil painting of a mermaid

rising up out of green tides.
We were always broke.

We walked everywhere,
wanted everything.

We shopped consignment
and praised one another

for our finds of cardigans
and costume jewelry.

There was so much to love,
except ourselves,

but we never let on.
Poetry and art would do. They would stand

in place of self-love
and it worked. It worked so well

we never gave it up.  


Julie Brooks Barbour’s chapbook, Come To Me and Drink, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2012.  Her poems have recently appeared in Waccamaw, Kestrel, UCity Review, and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems.  She teaches at Lake Superior State University where she co-edits the journal Border Crossing.