Sunday, 26 July 2020

Seven-Year-Old Girls’ Sleep-over Party, 1970                                             

by Karen Friedland

We went tribal, that night.
It was epic—
Near-naked, we painted flowers around our belly buttons
with a mother’s lipstick

and formed warring camps—
fighting pitched hula-dance battles
until a mother came in,
pleading for mercy,
claiming 2 a.m.

And where, oh where, are those pleasure-drunk,
dancing seven-year-old wild girls now?

Old, with sagging bellies, I imagine—
having been slit open repeatedly
to remove wombs, tumors, babies.

Yet, might we be yearning to break free,
paint flowers around our aging, wrinkled belly buttons
with lipstick, and fight pitched hula battles once more?

We might be.

* * * * *

A nonprofit grant writer by day, Karen’s poems have been published in Nixes Mate ReviewWriting in a Women’s Voice, the Lily Poetry ReviewVox Populi and others. Her book of poems, Places That Are Gone, was published in 2019 by Nixes Mate Books, and she has a chapbook forthcoming in late 2020 from Cervena Barva Press. She lives in Boston with her husband, two cats and two dogs.


  1. "We might be." Ahhh, hope doth spring eternal...thanks for my first smile of the day!

  2. Amazing poem! I feel as if I was there.