Before growing pains seeped
thick into my womb,
staining it scarlet,
ripping my freedom to shreds,
exploding idyllic preconceptions,
pouring hormonal rust upon my skipping youth,
a green heart played innocent tunes
on a swelling rib cage.
The meadows rippled in reply,
and the stream tinkled in time to the childish beat.
The hills, too kind to disillusion me,
echoed my refrain
in three-part harmony —
yet nature couldn’t prevent
the betrayal of my burgeoning body.
I made painful mistakes,
edging around the shadiest patches,
mostly staying in safe places.
These days, the lost ones shimmy down slimy drainpipes
as if life is a giveaway toy to treat lightly
and toss aside.
Lately, my heartbeat sings
a less vigorous song, muffled
by the grimy streets and the grainy patina of age,
but now and again a high note
echoes through the trees.
©Jane Paterson Basil