You love the radio,
love the thump & pop
of all the latest songs—
girls & boys singing
to other girls & boys
& though you are too young
to decipher most messages
you know something hangs
in the static of small speakers.
If you were an adult,
you might say the songs
are like skin burning
with touch & absence
of touch, like the small, hot hand
of Hawthorne’s “Birthmark,”
stinging all the way down
to the bone, but you are nine
& so you don’t.
At night, you listen
to Delilah, the radio crone
with the rich voice,
advising those who kiss
& those who deign
to be kissed, playing
Cyndi or Whitney
hitting all the high notes
from your mother’s youth,
that youth always past tense
because daughters bloom
right under the hands
toweling dry their hair.
They grow in the radio
dial’s green glow,
in between ads for cars
& the songs of last summer:
You’re my butterfly. Sugar. Sugar.

Annie Woodford

Annie Woodford lives in Roanoke, Virginia, where she is a teacher at Virginia Western Community College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Appalachian HeritageThe Comstock ReviewCold Mountain ReviewThe Chattahoochee ReviewWaccamawThe Normal SchoolTar River PoetryBluestem, and Town Creek Poetry, among others.