Georgia Pearle


This Lesson I Know My Boy Already Knows 


Somewhere West a combine
is crushing new mice,
And my freshman son needs
help with Steinbeck,

And tomorrow we’ll catch
the 84 bus to the redline
to the 40 bus before sunrise,
and my daughter will nod

in the crook of my armpit,
her young breath still
full of spearmint: she won’t notice
the shadows that shuffle

beneath each overpass we pass.
I don’t think about that
Christmas when I signed
the charity papers homeless

when we wait at the next bus stop
where there are three ageless,
white and gaunt, picking through
butts on the sidewalk

they murmur together, my corner
that bitch got my corner
and I mouth to my boy, meth,
which he knows only

as the smoke that took his father
to some unknowable world
but he knows the look I strike
means huddle closer, trust

nothing near us, save our own
spared feet and step quickly
do not ask me where we’re going
boy step quickly toward dawn

But tonight he is writing on Lenny
and George, and tonight I bide
my tongue. I say nothing of men
not knowing their strength.



Georgia Pearle is an alumna of Smith College and holds an MFA in Poetry from Lesley University Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Crab Creek Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others. She is currently a Doctoral Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston and the Digital Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. She was the recipient of the 2018 Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing. She lives in Houston with her two children.