Megan Peak, "Gulf Coast, 6th Grade"




Ghost crabs rush to the surface, dragging

hatchlings and debris across sand and back


down burrows. Older girls drip like amber

bottles of ale, warm in the palms of some


men on a binge. My friends and I watch as

they lounge on towels, under parasols, skin


oil-slicked and beaming. How we point:

that one—no—that one is prettiest. The dip


in her back foreign as a dahlia on a sand dune. 

Sky bulks with cloud, and another girl gets tossed


into the sea. She emerges topless, hair coated

back with salt. I think of my own body, small,


shy, how it is barely there, how I know little

about touching, about being touched. Our


mothers call us in. We untangle our hair, 

let our suits drip in the tub. The youngest 


of us stands in front of a mirror exhaling, 

inhaling: girl, woman, girl, woman.



Megan Peak is a graduate student in The Ohio State University's MFA Program in Poetry. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in A cappella Zoo, Banango Street, The Boiler Journal, DIAGRAM, Four Way Review, North American Review, PANK, The Pinch, Pleiades, THRUSH Poetry Journal, and Tupelo Quarterly. She serves as Poetry Editor at OSU’s literary magazine, The Journal.