“Summer Break 1993” By Jessica Spruill

I was six, standing on the bathroom
counter counting bruises on my thighs
in the mirror and the days
until summer would end.

I wore a baseball cap like my
father’s, down over my eyes,
and I wouldn’t cry
because boys don’t.

In the creek, I rinsed dirt and gravel
from scabbed knees, watched minnows
like blades glinting under
the current in late sunlight.

At the end of the summer, we buried
a dog in the pasture, washed her blood
and vomit from the porch
with a bucket of dishwater.


Jessica Spruill is an assistant professor of English at Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia. Her work has appeared in The Pikeville Review and Still: The Journal. She is a poetry editor for Heartwood, a literary magazine in association with the low-residency MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s