Devan Murphy, "Girls"

When it was freezing they still sent us out.

And we stood pathetically on the asphalt by the

monkey bars and the tractor tires, five or six of us girls

with the plush of our coats pressed together—

a giant blob of disinterested chilliness.

Foreheads against foreheads,

communal breath.

And we whined in shrill voices how inhumane it was

for them to send us out.


But even in the hot months—

no air conditioning indoors and

fat young thighs sticking to plastic chairs—

we still longed for touch, it seemed,

and at recess we sat in a circle of swings

and we would swing as high as we could

and try to meet in the middle of the air,

stretching our legs towards one another until,

nearly vertical, we almost

slid backward off of the seats,

and we would try to tap sneakers

against one another’s sneakers

and when you did it

—well, you couldn’t always time it perfectly

—but when you could,

you felt connected,

touching nothing

and touched by nothing

but each other and the air.