“June 24, 2022” by Sarah Russell

Kennedy Lake by M-A Murphy, mostly blue photograph of boys jumping from an old pier into a mountain lake

Image: “Kennedy Lake” by M-A Murphy. “June 24, 2022” was written by Sarah Russell for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2022, and selected as the Artist’s Choice. (PDF / JPG)


Sarah Russell

JUNE 24, 2022

We stood hesitant that day, feet anchored
on the splintered pier, sun blistering, glacial
lake gasping cold. It was the year Julie and I
grew boobs, started cramping, felt stirrings
we didn’t talk about, even to each other.
C’mon in, the boys called, but we hung back,
more aware of our bodies than ever before,
the fathoms-deep water, the reach
of mountains and sky—the precipice
of everything.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
June 2022, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, M-A Murphy: “There are several that I love a lot, but this poem gave me shivers as I read it, because I have been that girl, in the background wondering what was happening to my body as I became a teenager and started my period; feeling deeply uncomfortable and overwhelmed at this new reality, but also curious and excited. I love that the poet wrote about the two girls on the pier in the shadows, and not the focal point of the boy jumping off. I really appreciated that. Thank you.”

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