Kelli Simpson


We were 14 and fragile
that summer.
Lonely, unsupervised,
unlikeable girls.
We made worlds
of each other’s empty spaces.
We invented places
where mothers came home.

We drank ourselves stupid
that summer;
shoplifted beer
from the Stop and Buy.
And we loved each other 
through learning that loss
can bitter every taste on the tongue.

We were the shame of the town
that summer.
Odd, almost orphaned, 
awkward girls;
our eyes,
hungry and haunted;
our houses
thick with ghosts.

Kelli Simpson is the winner of the 2021 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. Her work has appeared in MockingHeart ReviewLamplit UndergroundGreen Ink PoetryOne Art Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. A mother, poet, and former teacher, she makes her home in Norman, Oklahoma.