Finding My First Gray At Twenty

was as if I’d caught The Fates sneaking to snip my time

as if soft lightning had struck me addled

all the smoke from the final suck of American

Spirits emigrated north, just like they said

I was a spindle of nerves, a graveyard

of small bones cartoon skeletons strike drums with

I haven’t lived enough to begin plucking

the strings of an antique violin

I still find streaks of deodorant on my dark shirt

still wince against the foam lip of a fierce wave 

suddenly I’m a tetherball 

in my childhood yard, with the rose bush 

the kudzu, the ghost of a crabapple tree, bracing

for action or perhaps 

some sharp release

Julia Watson earned her. MFA from North Carolina State University. Her works have been published in The Shore, Voicemail Poems, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, among other journals. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina. You can read more of her work at