I watch you in the pool
clinging to your kick board
next to a girl who already
has the look of a woman,
long hair pulled into tight bun,
earrings, face made up, confident
smile given to every stranger.
Your little girl haircut, focused
inattention, playing at horses,
dolphins, ducks, games you make up,
embody what it means to be three.
Older girls run screaming
around the pool, wild
and unafraid, suits all lycra
and lace and getting smaller.
Older still, they gather in groups,
smack pink gum between their teeth,
mostly watch, talk, laugh,
seem always aware of their bodies.
I fear how much you’ll change,
how little I can control,
how much less I should.
Scott Owens is the author of The Fractured World (Main Street Rag, 2008),
Deceptively Like a Sound (Dead Mule, 2008), The Moon His Only Companion (CPR,
1994), The Persistence of Faith (Sandstone, 1993), and the upcoming Book of Days
(Dead Mule, 2009). He is co-editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, coordinator of the Poetry
Hickory reading series, and 2008 Visiting Writer at Catawba Valley Community College. His poems have appeared in Georgia Review, North American Review, Poetry East, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Cimarron Review, Greensboro Review, Chattahoochee Review, Cream City Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Cottonwood, among others. Born in Greenwood, SC, he is a graduate of the UNCG MFA program and now lives in Hickory, NC.