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"Swallowing July"

by April Bautista, 15, West Bend, Wisconsin

Made me reevaluate
My incomplete
And the babyfat
Around my stomach
That never seemed
To sit still
Became my obsession,
And with it He thrust at me,
the tangle of Firsts,
That July
Bullied me into fathoming.

The Firsts
Were swathed in subtle shades
of innocence
And I dipped my fingers
Into the film
Eager for understanding
But feeling eleven still, and
Clinging to the
Matriarchial skirt
That tethered me to

And July waned—
Because we swallowed it whole—
Until the days grew
Clipped, and the rapiers
Of weary patience
Were drawn,
Freeing eleven but
Coming into thirteen,
And innocence,
A burden to be missed,
Summer skin.

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