Marissa Glover is currently the Managing Editor for Orange Blossom Review and the Poetry Editor at Barren Press and was nominated in 2018 for a Pushcart Prize by The Lascaux Review for her poem “Some Things Are Decided Before You Are Born.” Marissa’s poetry was recently anthologized in Persona Non Grata by Fly on the Wall Press and published at Likely Red, Ghost City Review, The Coil, and New Verse News, among others. Follow her on Twitter @_MarissaGlover_.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHILDREN GONE?
When I hear the wailing travel down the tracks—an echo of Piggy’s conch blowing across the beach, this monster stealing through the graveyard, grinding through the dead—I think of Mowgli, the boy who ran wild in The Jungle Book half-naked, covered only by a loincloth and liberty. Half-brave, you and I climb the trestle. The metal is cold and not to be trusted, a drunk swaying side to side in the dark. Seniors in college, we throw our shoes and clothes onto the railroad but refuse to follow through with jumping. We aren’t ready for much of anything.
I remember Huckleberry Finn and realize how much I hate being a girl. How much I care. Helen, whose face could launch a thousand ships, would go skinny-dipping. I stay on shore, swimming in rum. Maybe drinks help us come to terms with our mediocrity, give us courage to flaunt our abundant curves or obvious lack—if only to ghosts. We joke about heeding the call of nature and not wanting to piss on the dead. We watch our steps, tripping through wet grass slick with mist as if we’re dodging landmines.
We talk about Achilles and the beauty of an imperfect body. We are not gods, and our shame at stripping keeps us moving from shadow to shadow, hating the brief moments the moon proves us human. Walking up a dandelion hill, past stone markers too small for grown-ups, I ask, Where have all the children gone? You keep walking. But it’s us, I think—naked at the edge of adulthood one last time, we make sure we’re hidden by something and then we make our peace.