Me at age 11 in North Carolina
Girl Imagines Her Disappearance
by Julie Brooks Barbour

When the girl entered the living room,
her mother did not lift her head.

Her father never lowered his newspaper.
She shouted profanities and her mother continued

to mend socks and replace shirt buttons,
garments heaped on the couch.

The girl could not work up the strength
to move small objects her parents would miss:

a coffee cup with a chipped handle or a pair
of ceramic doves her father gave her mother.

If the girl continued her deep silence,
she could slip out the door without notice.

She calculated how long it might take her parents
to recognize her absence, how many times

they would call her to dinner before the gravy
on her plate congealed. The front door creaked

as it shut. Would they hear? Or would she become
another sound a house makes, a noise to ignore?

PHOTOGRAPH: The author at age 11 in North Carolina.


Julie Brooks Barbour
is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and two chapbooks: Earth Lust (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Four Way Review, diode, storySouth, Prime Number Magazine, burntdistrict, The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University.