• 1.
    Girl King
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    by Valerie Guardiola
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    I knew love at ten years old,
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    holding berries, crushed
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    and bleeding red in my right hand,
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    unaware of  life after burying my godfather.
  • 8.
     
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    I knew love when I held her child
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    and thought of what life looks like
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    outside of my own arms.
  • 12.
    When there is no way I can imagine
  • 13.
    some half hearted attempt to crown a
  • 14.
    new girl king, and I bend at the elbows
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    and hope it will help pass the time.
  • 16.
     
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    I knew love when she spoke to me in hymns,
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    and danced with me, half naked near blazing fires.
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    When the sky opened and showed me the weight
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    the women who roar
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    and the women who mumble.
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    I knew love when I came back to my city,
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    wrapped it in my grandmother’s afghan,
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    to find it had stained my fingers
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    with the blood of years before
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    and questioned whether it ever was mine.
  • 28.
     
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    I knew love through my boomerang thighs,
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    even after boys cursed me for them.
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    When I stopped feeling so ancient,
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    despite silver blood running through to my heart.
  • 33.
     
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    I knew love when I stopped wearing lipstick
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    because he said he wouldn’t kiss me,
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    but the truth was I was learning to hate every
  • 37.
    story that I pushed through my paint.
  • 38.
    When I was a hostess to a town that kept
  • 39.
    breaking my heart, and I would remind myself
  • 40.
    that the best parts of before
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    and after are the ones in between.
  • 42.
     
  • 43.
    I knew love from hanging goldfish
  • 44.
    from silver wire when I was six.
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    When I was a sucker for a boy with
  • 46.
    wild eyes and raw ears,
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    saving graces for after dinner
  • 48.
    in case your brother walked in.
  • 49.
     
  • 50.
    I knew love when my mother was a genius
  • 51.
    and when my father was a spy, because
  • 52.
    you live long enough in a tourist town,
  • 53.
    people start coming to you like they’re visiting.
Girl King by Valerie Guardiola I knew love at ten years old, holding berries, crushed and bleeding red in my right hand, unaware of life after burying my godfather. I knew love when I held her child and thought of what life looks like outside of my own arms. When there is no way I can imagine some half hearted attempt to crown a new girl king, and I bend at the elbows and hope it will help pass the time. I knew love when she spoke to me in hymns, and danced with me, half naked near blazing fires. When the sky opened and showed me the weight the women who roar and the women who mumble. I knew love when I came back to my city, wrapped it in my grandmother’s afghan, to find it had stained my fingers with the blood of years before and questioned whether it ever was mine. I knew love through my boomerang thighs, even after boys cursed me for them. When I stopped feeling so ancient, despite silver blood running through to my heart. I knew love when I stopped wearing lipstick because he said he wouldn’t kiss me, but the truth was I was learning to hate every story that I pushed through my paint. When I was a hostess to a town that kept breaking my heart, and I would remind myself that the best parts of before and after are the ones in between. I knew love from hanging goldfish from silver wire when I was six. When I was a sucker for a boy with wild eyes and raw ears, saving graces for after dinner in case your brother walked in. I knew love when my mother was a genius and when my father was a spy, because you live long enough in a tourist town, people start coming to you like they’re visiting.

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