Poem: That Summer

Sarah McMahon
2 min readMay 19, 2024

This is the third poem in my recently released book Dirt Girl. You can find the entire collection on Amazon here, or find the audiobook on Chirp here.

that summer

the sunflowers always bent toward the west

the summer my thin girl chest sprouted breasts like red daffodils

the way petals unfurl and girls grow up sound the same

that summer I woke up less naive less willing to believe in stories

and I could no longer see men quite the same

I felt so ashamed sitting in a wooden church pew

with a hymnal in my fist as I thought about sex

with the same curiosity that a banker thinks of money

or a homeowner considers their wainscoting

that summer I let a boy kiss my lips and blushed the color of the ripe

strawberries I knelt to pick every day

a pink rim of sweetness framing my face

I’ve always loved the scent of the sun against warm black soil

that was the summer I learned to boil corn until the kernels turned tender

scrubbed rough cucumbers until my cuticles bled