Green Hills Literary Lantern







I was still pigtailed and pinafored in the fifth grade

while cool girls were rolling their eyes, their hair,

and their waistbands to shorten their skirts.

I hoped to impress them with my Science Project,

(which goes to show how clued-in I was then

to social nuance.) I filled a beaker


with water, corked it, and pumped in some air.

A little cloud formed, feathery and delicate, 

and I felt powerful, like God

in awe of my own creation. Until it exploded,

and a shard just missed some short skirted eye.

I cried when I was banished


to the dark cloakroom, and I felt abject like Lucifer,

just wanting to be in with the archangel

in-crowd. What on God’s earth

were you thinking, Mom asked me later,

pumping air into a bottle sealed

with no valve? The truth is


that I was too mesmerized by my miracle to see

past the cloud; the truth is that even when

I was a part of things I felt apart

from things, that while I cried those tears

in my dark closet exile, I also felt free--

I felt an icicle splinter of glee.



 Rebecca Foust’s books include All That Gorgeous, Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Book Award, April 2010) and God,Seed, environmental poetry with art by Lorna Stevens (Tebot Bach, Sept. 2010). Mom’s Canoe and Dark Card won the Robert Phillips Poetry Prize in 2007 and 2008. Recent poems appear in Hudson Review, Margie, North America Review, Spoon River and elsewhere.  For more info, see