First Argument

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An ache like a seed
caught in teeth, acrid after-
taste of unripe fruit;

astonishment. That
is not what I meant. Sudden
drop of a gaze, new

heaviness. Where are
you going?
Strange entrapment
within skin, like the tree-

gum that had to be
cut from Eve’s hair. I
just didn’t hear you.

The twitch of a brow.
She remembers the bitterness
of a beetle crunched

accidentally, hidden in the spinach;
she remembers
the first rasp of ivy rash on the wrist.

Look at me
when I’m talking. Heart pounding
in her ears. A shoulder

shrugs away from a hand. Skin
is not just for pleasure; it
can chafe. She is learning

what a weed is,
and what it does.

—Darlene Young

This poem won second place in the 2018 Clinton F. Larson Poetry Contest sponsored by BYU Studies.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 58:3
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