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"Francine Wonders: Could This Be Entropy?" by Cecil Morris

Francine thirteen and bemused

by what her body’s done,

by how its bloomed and ached

and made the men she likes the best

stand wary off—her swimming coach,

her science teacher, her stepdad

she’s known since she was three—

while others in stores, on streets,

when she walks through the mall

with her friends or her mom,

how they turn like flowers

to sun, to stare, no care

for her, just her height, her shape,

her length of leg, her curves.

She did not understand

how she could be both poles

at once—repel—attract—

and not be simply herself,

the girl she had always been,

an otter sleek and sure

to slip in and out of waves.

Francine at thirteen: she thinks

she is no fool, thinks she knows

astronomy, the fixed

eternal order of stars

and planets, the constancy

of strong atomic bonds,

the certainty of gravity.

Yet here she is—herself

and something else, something more

or less. She did not want this change

she did not understand.

Cecil Morris retired after 37 years of teaching high school English, and now he tries writing himself what he spent so many years teaching others to understand and (he hopes) to enjoy. He has poems appearing or forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Hole in the Head Review, New Verse News, Rust + Moth, Willawaw Journal, and elsewhere. He and his patient partner, the mother of their children, divide their year between the cool Oregon coast and California’s relatively dry Central Valley.

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