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Hushed Reverie at a Quaker Boarding School

A collection of poems I wrote in the mid 80s as I fell in love with a girl.

By April CopePublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - December 2023
Sleeping Rowie

Fifteen in February

Youth purring

me into flannel sleeves and rubber boots,

folding me in tender contours, brush-stroked with a thousand fears

all kissed and stroked by the glowing

Rowena, who smiled like a butch Mona Lisa below the tapestry

duct-taped to the wall.

I carry the compost buckets

from the noisy kitchen, out the screen door

into the cold, purplish gloom.

I remember the tremor

of long lashes fluttering my cheek

a night moth drawn to light or love.

I move over ice

glazing the vast Iowa mud. My sneakers slide on its pocked surface,

hard as toffee over molars,

my thoughts smoking upward, swirling and soft.

She gave me her warm, bisqued body

on the calico sheets

so freely, her slim

fingers pungent

with cilantro.

Later, she cast her wide

smile over my face like a sunrise. Did I blush, even in negative 12

degrees? And I


she waits for me now, tempting and safe as a honeysuckle sepal,

anther and filament,

but dangerous and dark


they don't understand.

Will she pull me again with winter rapture

into the silk of flesh,

and curves so smooth

as smooth as

driftwood on rivers of milk?

Will her thoughts skim over mine

wind over prairie grass,

rapids on river stones, their quiet needs lapping in the dark?

The pigs gobble as leftovers fall

from my buckets. They revel in their meal, unashamed of their

pleasure. A noodle dangles over a bristled ear,

I can see it so clear

in the honest light of the brood clamp

on the splintered beam.

A baked potato steams on the

back of a sow

like a kneecap. And I turn into

the winter wickedness, my young flesh dissolving under the

unquenched gaze of the Iowa moon.

I toss a fallen cupcake, somehow still intact, to

the revelers, smiling still

walking toward the girls' dorm



over gravel

trapped below ice

my empty buckets stinking

and swinging in the purple arms of

my reverie.


No More Blue-Necked Ladies

Straddling the backs of dolphins, we’re glued to

life’s tired billboards.

Cotton candy and poppy chins

we know what we're supposed to say

who we're supposed to be. We all pet them like poodles, else we will be

thought too feminist or brooding.

On worm farms in Idaho, one of them was said to have swallowed a curtain

rod. Someone must have told her it was edible, poor thing.

So, loose as linguini, the wayward worms slide across the frontier,

collecting bacteria.


Trapped in the Barbed Wire

of expectation, numb to movement and


Where is Vickie and volleyball?

Where is the rafter where we sat that dusty afternoon

in the crumbling barn, making up songs?


In the Mold-Green Tent

We kiss,

warm as a mug,

ripe as a yellow leaf in a Chinese rain.

Moons of Jupiter pull and push in this dark cave

where leopards have loved.

The wheeze of waxed canvas begins our anilhilation.

Light slaps our faces as she yanks open the flap,

this paper doll girl with braces and baseball cap.

As usual, in terror, we spring apart,

squinting and ashamed

young kittens

stealing cream.

Her undulating pupils spit seedless grapes

in surprise

hissing and pious

in the mid-summer haze. In justified fear, we stare in suspense

as her bones melt, her

disgust burning on its sharp wick.

Wheeling around in the damp oak leaves, she searches for someone to tell,

and with cruel delight, she squawks,

“They’re both girls!”


Those Patchouli Faces Appear Slowly

in the developer tray,

sliding gently from side to side. Papa and Whitney. They look serious and

true, with soft eyes like the messiah.

I wonder if they are as beautiful as I remember.

Darkroom-curiousness, float me away to our last cradle, where

bend upon bend, our bodies became clouds.

And Papa, your eyes strike like matches on a March morning.

Horse currier, scientist of loving, are you eating stir-fries with soy sauce


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About the Creator

April Cope

April is a writer and musician with music on most streaming platforms like Pandora and Spotify. She lives in Asheville NC and works as a copywriter, is a mother of 2 boys and is writing a mystery.

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Comments (5)

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  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    Perfect poetic portrait! 👌 🏅

  • Wow 😦🤞🏾💯 I love this..

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    A lovely journey of discovering! And wonderful that you have the poems as memories. I lost a lot of mine along the way...memory and poems that is 🤍 Congratulations on TS 🤍

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    Beautiful poetry. Wonderfully woven into a patchwork of lovely words,

  • All your poems were so wonderful! My favourite was the first one, Fifteen in February!

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