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“Gigi”

Learning about growth and not wanting to let the small moments go.


By Anonymous


Graphic By Sarah Tocci

I read a book when I was seven 

about a girl who hiked the Appalachian, 

at age eleven, she just walked off.

I couldn’t tell you what it was called, 

but I know it took her three months 

and she cooled off at a swimming hole–

I never stopped thinking about it. 


The swimming hole was deep and clear, 

held from sight by grass stalks 

that strained red summer light upon it. 

The book said nothing of it, but I just know

there must have been fireflies, 

and the waters tasted like July, 

and a campfire left to embers would seem

entirely at place on its sloping bank,

and you probably could leave 

a bike with a basket thrown to its side, 

indenting the grass for upwards of 

eight hours while you swam 

without needing to lock it up.


I wanted it for myself—

begged my mother for a plane ticket,

wished for Virginia over birthday candles until I turned twelve. 


I never made the trip, but, twelve years later,

I spent the summer across the Pacific, living 

with a woman who hiked the Appalachian and 

I met a girl named Virginia,

who carried herself like a lampshade. 


Virginia’s temper was unbothered and her hair curled,

she was tender with small animals and she curbed 

my inclination to say no to most things:

passed me her guitar, her bowl–talked

me up until I jumped 25 feet into a

reservoir of public drinking water. 


It was a public reservoir,

but she made me feel as though I dove

into a slightly-out-of-sight swimming hole 

and when she laughed I swore I was floating

through grass stalks, red summer light 

on my skin, and I saw the bank-side campfire, 

and there were fireflies, and it scared me 

when I wondered if she tasted like July. 

Looking at her, I realized 


I do not know myself, 

or who to ask for help, but a photo of us hangs

on the wall beside my candle and

I’m wishing for Virginia tonight. 

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