Tuesday, August 8, 2023



by Luanne Castle


Past the Chinese mothers
leading babies in padded coats,
the men with pigtails
swinging below hat brims,
the peddler with his fringe
and clankety packs,
sludge underfoot,
the smells of the oil
and horsesweat, the piss
and foul entrails and upwards
the cables and grease, smoke-
stained dormers and turrets
and cornices, the gorgons
on the mansions, and then
back through the glazed streets
to the alley corners and bars
where they meet her, ten years
old and pregnant, and the police
look away. One regular, with
his wet plate camera, shoots
her bare bulging belly, her child’s
form, her downcast dark eyes
and heart-shaped resignation.

* * * * *

"Girl" was originally published in Superstition Review.

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. 

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