Before I Was a Girl by Jessica Barksdale

Before I Was a Girl

I was a streak of light,
a hurricane
of every single thought
moving a thousand miles an hour.
I was yes
never no.
My father
not my mother,
a car, a jet, a bird.
I was a pair of pants
a sturdy shoe,
a thick rope
a plank of smooth wood
leather gloves, a saddle,
a hammer, a trowel
the sun, a beach, an entire town.
I was morning noon night,
flinging through the grassy
world, beaming, hearty, whole,
crowned by a halo of dragonflies
and dirt, my own true self.


Jessica Barksdale’s fourteenth novel, The Burning Hour, was published by Urban Farmhouse Press in April 2016. A Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, her short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in the Waccamaw Journal, Salt Hill Journal, Little Patuxent Review, and So to Speak. She is a Professor of English at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California and teaches novel writing online for UCLA Extension. She holds an MA in English Literature from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the Rainier Writers Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

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