A native of Ohio and graduate of the MFA program at Bowling Green State University, Karin Wraley Barbee currently teaches composition and creative writing at Siena Heights University. She lives with her husband and two children in Tecumseh, Michigan. Her work has appeared in Natural Bridge, Swerve, Fjords Review, Columbia Review, The Diagram, Whiskey Island, Found Poetry Review, and Sugar House Review.

Also by Karin Wraley Barbee: Russia Daughter

November 30, 2016

Karin Wraley Barbee


Mean with age, the archaeologists tunneled through mud and stone, anchored their ladders at the base of the pit. With shovels and picks, they scratched, crouched, searched for fragments of bone. The largest of them, a man named Sir, spotted one, popped it out of the earth with his knife, squinted, handed it to another, who took it in his raw fingers, bit at its end and ran his tongue around it. A girl, again. He spat. They took turns rolling it between their fingers, establishing her exact age, then tossed it into a barrel with the others.

I can't remember the exact origin story of "Girls". Sometimes when I write I pull random non-fiction books from my shelf to trigger some (seemingly) disparate associations. Other times I read newspaper stories that anger me and go from there. In this case, I'd bet on the anger. It's a really depressing poem, actually. I've written a lot of those in the last few years. But they all feel honest to me.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
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