Issue 18 | Summer 2016

Camp, 1978

She sits on the splintered wooden steps, alone. The smell of wet canvas
Mixes with a breeze off the lake. Behind her, six cots,

Striped mattresses cottony and thick. She lays out her plaid sleeping bag,
Dislodges a scab and brings it to her mouth, watches them retreat:

Mother, stepfather, stray younger siblings.  Her little sister’s hair
Flies up and a tiny butterfly barrette drops to the dirt.  Flat on her back

On the slatted platform she stares at the cobwebs lacing the peaked frame,
The seeping beads of dew, dark speckles of mold. A daddy longlegs

Walks across her thighs. She considers pinching him up by one leg
And chucking him out the back as she will hundreds of times that month

At the request of squealing tent-mates. Soon the lunch gong will ring and
She will stand, grind the barrette into the ground with her heel, take her seat

In the dining hall, wake at midnight for a starry swim.
She lets him move along.


Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney from Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Fem, Litbreak, PANK, HeART, Barnstorm, Hot Metal Bridge, The Tishman Review and other fine journals. Her chapbook, Up Liberty Street, was a finalist for the 2015 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest, the 2015 Blast Furnace Chapbook Contest and the 2015 Minerva Rising Chapbook Contest.


Filed under: Prose