by Carol Coven Grannick

I would’ve been as tall as the middle of the chalkboards
with windswept Breck hair swinging in the classroom

breezes, without a care for whether my math answer was correct
because it always would be.

I would’ve strolled back to my desk down the aisle
without a care for the size or shape of my body

the cut of my clothes or the tuck of my blouse
unafraid of any attention on me, my eyes a clear twenty-twenty

looking into his eyes without glasses, sure
that my crush is returned in equal measure.

I would eat when hungry, no diets to catapult interest
into bingeing, nothing to startle my hips or tummy

into unnatural growth, sure that my healthy body
would take care of itself.

I would’ve understood my parents,
only five years older than me when the family began

would have seen their terrors and sadness, summoned
infinite patience, parenting myself, unscathed.

Nothing left for imperfection, sixteen would have had
the wisdom and beauty of sixty, endless, overflowing

floating through life
with nothing to learn.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author at age 16.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Although I’ve been a writer most of my life, my writing has flourished in the past few years since I set the longing for publication on a back burner. When I did, the joy and freedom with my writing returned. I love the challenge of “going deep” with my work, as well as the challenge of revision, self-induced or requested by editors or agents. While ideas come to me in many ways, I find that good prompts help me explore deeply fairly quickly, and I love them. This poem was in response to a prompt from Sonya Sones at a Highlights Workshop for poets with Sonya, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Linda Oatman High.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Coven Grannick is a poet and children’s author whose middle-grade novel, Reeni’s Turn, was chosen a finalist in the Katherine Paterson Award at Hunger Mountain and will appear in excerpts in the Spring/Summer 2015 Hunger Mountain. Her children’s fiction and poetry has appeared in Cricket, Highlights, and Ladybug, and her most recent poetry and essays for adults have appeared or is forthcoming in The Lake, Broad!, Dink, The Shine Journal, and You & Me: America’s Medical Magazine. Last summer, one of her poems rode on the north suburban buses of Chicago!