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LAce Posted Monday, February 13th, 2006
Anatomy of a Tomboy
Ann Walters

At five she wants to fingerpaint the sky, fill in gaps where clouds spread too much white.
Turquoise supplants rose as her favorite color.

At nine she strips to shorts in summer, a streak of shirtless pink.
She doesn’t want to know that boys are different, still less that she isn’t one.

At twelve she lays blame for her birth, blacking the eye of the boy next door when he snaps the strap of her training bra.

At fifteen she slicks her short hair down, wears defiant black slacks and a long thin tie to the homecoming social. She doesn’t dance.

Sixteen is not sweet. Seventeen does not experiment with makeup. Eighteen, nineteen – even twenty – come and go in jeans and t-shirts, soccer cleats, bruises.

She marries at twenty-nine, surprising even herself.
The dress is ivory, short-sleeved, simple. She dances barefoot, honeymoons on a mountain, imagines how it feels to be female.

She sways belly first in hiking boots at thirty-one.
At thirty-five, she climbs a tree, hoots like a monkey.
Her daughters lift their pudgy fingers, laugh, and paint the sky.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Patricia Moed on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 10:33 AM
Lovely writing. You remind me of the fact that the untamed spirit of the tomboy, which many of us suppressed at adolescence, should never be tamed. We should pass down this spirit and love of adventure to our daughters.

Posted by Gerard C. Smith on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 10:47 AM
Sharon: Atta-boy, Girl. You go! Jerry

Posted by antonios maltezos on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 11:41 AM
Wonderful! Leaves me with a good feeling.

Posted by Nonnie Augustine on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 1:30 PM
Ann-I like this tomboy who blacks a boy's eye, has daughters who fingerpaint the sky, and climbs a tree at thirty-five. Nonnie

Posted by Cecilia Miller on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 3:10 PM
Absolutely wonderful. This truly transported me and it leaves me smiling.

Posted by Judy Cabito on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 4:45 PM
Marvelous tribute to young girls with a love of jungle-gyms instead of Barbie's. :)

Posted by maggie shurtleff [ ] on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 10:47 PM
i enjoyed the timeline- and seeing her, go from one dance to another- and knowing she is still the same- in spirit--from five to thirty-five. we should all have some tomboy in us- if it makes us this solid, open. this poem shows us through images.... just as it should be.. wonderful.

Posted by Anna McDougall on Tuesday, February 14th, 2006 at 11:41 AM
Wonderful reminders here of how girls can fulfill any dream today. I love 'sways belly first'.

Posted by Myfanwy Collins on Wednesday, February 15th, 2006 at 7:02 AM
Great, great stuff!

Posted by Patry Francis on Thursday, February 16th, 2006 at 11:23 PM
Keep painting that sky! Your colors are bold and beautiful!

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