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THE COURAGE OF WAYWARD GIRLS by Penny Koepsel & Claire Matturro

The Courage of Wayward Girls by Penny Koepsel and Claire Matturro

We bordered vibrant pink with bright orange

while painting peace symbols on poster boards

in art class and cast off the teacher’s reprimand

that those colors clashed because peace symbols

look braver with Dayglo fluorescent.

We ran through woods in dime-store flip-flops and

fringed cutoffs, sunburned and fast as the boys

we later raced down darkening alleyways fearless

on banana bikes while ignoring commands to act

like young ladies because where was the fun in that?

We snuck out of high football games to risk

hitchhiking downtown at night because

anything was better than watching those damn

jocks crash their thick bodies into each other

while cheerleaders leapt inanely over nothing.

We smelled like Winstons and weed

and sometimes that Jovan Musk which

we shoplifted on a dare but never liked

as much as patchouli oil and incense

smoke that lingered in our long hair.

We rode Easy-Rider style on the backs of

rebuilt Harleys to join the peace marches

with men chanting “hell no, we won’t go”

and wrapped wet bandanas on our faces

in front of police loading tear gas canisters.

We grew up bold in our unnerving

faith in streets we never found on maps

and felt the first prickles of age on skin

made tender by the loose gravel

we skidded through rather than turn around.

We reveled giddy and headstrong in the full

plenty of youth heedless that the shiny sharp

pieces of the rules we broke would become

a collage of clashing colors bravely displayed on

a beige wall in a house where older people live.

Penny Koepsel and Claire Matturro are co-authors of the novel Wayward Girls (Red Adept Publishing 2021), a psychological thriller. Koepsel is a psychologist in Texas and Matturro is a former lawyer in Florida. Both have poetry and short stories published in various journals.

a photo taken at a boarding school reunion where Claire and Penny over several glasses of wine and sharing ideas decided to write “Wayward Girls.”

a photo taken at a boarding school reunion where Claire and Penny over several glasses of wine and sharing ideas decided to write “Wayward Girls.”

Penny Koepsel

Penny Koepsel

Claire Matturro

Claire Matturro