His Girl

by Georgia Smith

Jeff Pipe taught me how to drive a stick
in one afternoon. We left the church
parking lot in his 4x4,
bouncing on fat tires,
and drove up and down
the hill behind the auto parts store.

I was sixteen. I still hadn’t learned
how to drive. Yes, I went to basketball games
and snuck into the Jewish cemetery
across the street from school
and yearned for Bryan Shannon
and burned the edges
of my own handwritten poems

but I thought the real me would happen
somewhere farther down the line
and then I would be saved from mix tapes
and lunch periods and field trips
to the Gullah sea islands and
Trevor Hobart rinsing his mouth out
before we kissed and summer nights
in my next-door neighbor’s car,
him a Leo and me a Capricorn,
his lion circling my goat
as I watched him out of
sideways eyes
and licked my Baskin-Robbins
in the July dark.

There was this story I’d read and reread
about a farmer captured by fairies
and they turned him into a pillar of ice and then
into a burning silver ingot which was a word
I didn’t know but his girl held on for dear life
to save him and I wondered if some day
somebody would hold on for me

while I snapped like a wolf,
squirmed like a cold worm,
beat my wings like a giant
bat and then I guessed the spell
would be broken, the spell
of my childhood would be broken.

Georgia Smith is a writer and artist living in Asheville, North Carolina. She wrote “His Girl” during the Great Smokies Writing Program class, Ostranenie: Poetry as Practice of Awareness.