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Boys that love girls

by Jessica Simpkiss

When she was little

It was cute, the way the boys

loved her on playground time

In the shadow between the

swings and the red plastic slides

looking down her throat

when they made her laugh

and up her skirt when she

crossed the monkey bars

her legs hanging open, spilling

secrets of the little girl kind

that mothers try to hide behind

polka dots and candy strips


When she was older but

still young, playground time became

heavy lunchroom butterflies

and awkward shy sideways eyes

but the boys still knew to make

her laugh and kissed her quickly

when her eyes were closed while

the teachers looked the other way

jealous of the candied love in their

baby sized eyes, listening to her

laughs before the bell yells and

they are lost in lunchroom lullabies


When she’s older and not young

I wonder how the

boys will love her and if they’ll

remember to make her laugh

when they take her in the woods

and try to love her behind trees

when they think no one is looking

I hope that they do, but know that

they won’t because when boys

try to become men before they know

it’s true spelling, laughing to

them starts to mean crying and

little girl’s tears the badges

they earn as they learn to hunt love

for sport, forgetting the times

that love was once real

in the shadow between the

swings and the red plastic slides

Jessica lives and works in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she received a degree in Art History. Her work has most recently been published or is forthcoming in Hartskill Review, Zimbell House Publishing, West Trade Review, the Virginia Literary Journal, amongst others.


February 2018

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