Hand on Pole

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Matchbox buildings 
surrounded the yard,
a gray rainy container.
Outside the entrance, 
an iron pole stood cold
even in the spring when
the jasmine tree bloomed 
its sweet perfume at me. 

Jasmine petals taught me 
tenderness while the pole 
left traces of rust on my 
palm. From her window 

the first-floor neighbor
watched me twirl twirl 
twirl, 
make my 
rounds 
hand on pole, 
     	she watched my lips move,
caught snatches of secrets,
I whispered to myself in
secret kid code. High on
jasmine, 
drunk with 
wind, 
                                    hand on pole, 
  	I didn’t count
the endless circles 
of my 
    childhood, 
                                                                          didn’t bother
to trace them into days.

Katia Raina

Katia Raina emigrated from the former Soviet Union in 1993 at the age of 15. Her fiction and non-fiction appeared in Faces, Calliope, Skipping Stones and other publications for young readers. She is a former award-winning newspaper journalist and currently an intern with a literary agency, with plans to continue her career on the other side of the publishing desk as well.

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