First Argument

Journal 58:3 (2019)
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First Argument

Author Darlene Young


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.