Becoming Silent at Thirteen
by Luanne Castle
From the dock, we dragged
our feet through the brown water,
catching our toes on minnows
or marsh grass.
Our long straight hair blew across our faces,
hooking slyly in our opened mouths.
The high school boys from across the lake
curved their big motorboat
in front of us, deluging us with waves.
When the sun balanced on the tree tops
above the houses of the boys,
we went in to set my mother’s table.
After dark we paddled
the rowboat out to the third lake
where the spiky weeds poking out
scared away boaters and house builders.
We followed the crescent moon
and threw anchor under the stars.
Our voices carried over the gently
breathing lake, but
we didn’t care, believing
the lake swallowed the secrets
hidden between our words, dragging
them down to swamp bottom.
From somewhere we thought we heard
a speedboat chopping fast,
and thought of the bare-chested boys
out there somewhere, churning the surfaces
of the first and second lakes in vain
while we listened now in silence.
* * * * *
"Becoming Silent at Thirteen" was originally published in NIghtingale & Sparrow.
Luanne Castle’s award-winning full-length poetry collections are Rooted and Winged (Finishing Line 2022) and Doll God (Kelsay 2015). Her chapbooks are Our Wolves (Alien Buddha 2023) and Kin Types (Finishing Line 2017), a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in The Dribble Drabble Review, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, River Teeth, Verse Daily, and other journals.