Before School

I just brushed my teeth.

All I need to do is spit,
but you hip check me
out of the way, so you
can stand in front
of the sink. I stamp
my foot and clench
my fists. That’s
when you laugh.
I want to sink
my teeth into
your arm I
want to tear
your skin
I want
to see
your
blood
run
down
the
s
i
n
k

Instead, I scream.

© 2011 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

Fallen Giant

They told me not to be afraid.

It’s just a noisy storm they said.
But I saw the giant lying dead
across the street, his arms outspread
to hold the bit of earth he’d guarded.
They told me not to be afraid.
There must have been decay they said.
But I saw them chip away his head
And scatter him in the garden bed,
Burying all evidence against the murderous wind.

© 2011 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

I still go there

I still go there sometimes—

To that other place that’s here but isn’t real.
I run across this grass and duck behind that tree
But I’m a dragon. I am small and blue, icy silver blue,
the color of an ocean wave on a completely sunny day,
frozen suddenly, just as it begins to fall,
blue on the inside, frosty white on the outside,
transparent all the way through. 
I have wings, but I’m a young dragon, so I can’t fly yet.
The pointy tips of my wings are pure silver,
As if they’d been dipped in a cauldron of melted coins and candlesticks.
Actually, I’m a water dragon.
If I’m near water, I can control it.
I can make enormous, powerful waves crash
Over the banks of the river and knock a giant to the ground.
I can make rain, so thick you can’t see through it,
To put out a fire set by a jealous pixie. 
I can make a frozen pond wherever and whenever I want
So I can ice skate with my friends, even in the summer.
I have many dragon friends, and they have different powers.
We live whole dragon lives. We even die.
The next day, we come back, curled inside a leathery dragon egg,
Where we stay until we are ready to be reborn.
I know it isn’t real. I know I’m getting too old.
But I still want to go there.
The problem is it’s hard to get there by myself.

© 2011 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved

One Green Lollipop

I stretch,

Giraffe tall,
Swing-tree tall,
So I can see
In the basket
On the counter,
Red, orange, yellow circles
Wrapped in plastic
Glowing
Like church windows.
I dig,
Squirrel quick,
Bone-dog quick,
Looking for green,
Spring grass green,
Green light green,
Sour apple green.
Not yet, sweetheart,
I am told.
Like I don’t know
Lollipops are for after shots.
But there’s only one
I want
To wrap my tongue around.
What if I’m good
And it’s gone?
I wouldn’t eat it now.
I could wait,
Knowing it was mine.
I grab it,
Cheetah fast,
Frog-tongue fast.
But what if someone sees?
Snake sneaky,
Kangaroo sneaky,
I hunt for a hiding place.
No pockets.
No socks.
No bag.
I have no choice.
I stash it in my underpants,
Just before they call my name.

© 2011 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved