The Sleepover
by Tricia McCallum

A Friday morning, Grade Six, and all
anyone could hear was the conspiratorial talk of the girls’ sleepover
planned for that night.
I kept waiting for the tap on my shoulder,
the invite whispered in my ear.
Stayed close to the girl’s cabal
at recesses and long after school until it finally sunk in.
My face in the pillow that night, the fear I would drown
in my tears.
There were a thousand little deaths,
strung out until morning.
How can such moments not define us?
Not ruin us
for anything good
that might ever come after.

A Glasgow-born Canadian, Tricia McCallum is the author of a sequence of poems, essays and photos entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.” (2011). Her poems “Thirst” and “There’s Always the Guy” were chosen by readers at as the winners of the poetry competition in December, 2011, and in May, 2012. Two of her poems, “Following Seas” and “The Gift of Donovan,” appeared in the first issue of the quarterly poetry e-zine called IMPpress. Tricia’s poem “The Island Dog” will be included in “Estuary,” an international poetry and visual arts album to be printed in England in December.

Tricia invites you to read more of her work at