One day I will take away
your polka dots and your memory of skirts.
I will take away your rouge
and clotted mascara and the hairspray
coating the bathroom counter
and the smudges of pink nail polish
at the edge near the toilet seat
where you sat preening
for a school day or night out.
I will take away the dangling earrings,
the bras with underwire, the panties
trimmed in lace, and the perfume
behind your ears and on your wrists
and between your breasts.
I will take away the whispers
with girlfriends and the long conversations
that tied up the phone line, the worries
over whether a boy looked at you
that day in the hallway.
I will remove the search
and the hunt and the catch.
I will take away the endless wanting
and the desire to be like everyone else.
I will leave you with two hands
and two feet and a body with muscular legs.
I will give you a pair of shorts,
a pair of running shoes,
you will run.
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (forthcoming from Aldrich Press, 2014) and a chapbook, Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, diode, storySouth, Prime Number Magazine, The Rumpus, Rose Red Review, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, Sundog Lit, and on Verse Daily. She is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University.