ALL ACCOUNT AND MIXTURE: Poetry by Jessica Franck

Superstition in Girl Years

I’ve been warned about a pond in bloom—

standing water, fence strung so cattle can’t get in.

But adults always tell it like they miss it, the days

of leech mouths pinched off skin. Meanwhile,

I’m trying to be a version of myself I’ll someday miss.

No one seems to notice. Every time I brave a stare

into the burnt eye of a pig roast, someone creeps up

to nab me under my ribs. Whenever I build a pit

from foraged rocks, they say the fire might make one pop

me on the nose. Or I’ll wet the bed. My biggest fear

is fluster, so I don’t flinch when the tinder cracks. I’m careful

to catch the squirm of my face, to blink as if there’s no bother.

I risk loose cradles of spiders in the cabin shower to wash

the smoke signals off. Sleep is more a meditation

on not peeing. The raccoons in the trash are not the sound

that something’s found me in the dark. I know it’s the wait

in the will-it-or-won’t-it that makes me want everything

to have happened already. When it does, I’m sure it’s quiet.

The too late kind, almost cautious, how coyotes pluck shadows

until rabbits, stuck on barbed wire, jingle softly in praise.



Haddie & Missy

kissed each other. They were cool.

They covered their eyes in charcoal. They looked good

in shirts, baggy or belly. They smoked, too.

So we waited for old cigarette butts

and pressed our lips where they did.

We were ordinary. When you asked me,

would you be my— the last word was easy

to guess, but we didn’t know what happened next.

So you stopped and I didn’t start.

It became secret to wonder why our bodies

stung whenever Haddie and Missy laughed.


Jessica Franck is a Hollins woman who calls Minnesota home. She is currently a Yusef Komunyakaa fellow and MFA candidate at Indiana University.