GIRLS LIKE US | ‘Girls like us can’t stay.’ Hannah McCooke addresses silent queerness and escape in this beautiful poem.
by Hannah McCooke
We never did get on that boat;
that summer when we turned feral.
Watching the ferry from Troon pace back and forth
From our north coast to that east coast
we wrote grand plans on the back
of a cigarette packet,
later, we’d tear it up for kindling.
Our toes buried in the sand,
with the dew–
settling on our bareness.
a small hand holds a small hand
a finger traces the curve of a spine.
By the docks
the boat shudders in,
and out again–without us
You never use the word ‘lesbian’
Or know what I mean when I say ‘girls like us’
And next summer I go without you
‘Girls like us’ can’t stay,
But they can hold
The weight of that name within them
And they can ache.
Hannah McCooke | @mccookebook
Hannah McCooke is a poet and writer living in Edinburgh and hailing from Northern Ireland’s bible belt. She’s a raging queer and archivist in training. She also paints delirious portraits of her ugly cat on instagram.