Rebecca Cross


Rebecca Cross holds an MA in creative and critical writing from the University of Sussex. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Quarterly West, Hotel Amerika, Beloit Poetry Journal, Harpur Palate, and Image, among other journals. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She lives in Vermont with her husband and cat.


What We Knew Then

As a child my sister had a fear she couldn’t name. To help her, I made amulets out of milk carton caps, pull tabs, and string. We hung them round our necks and braved the neighborhood, its ditches and sidewalks, its backyards and woods. We avoided all grown-ups. Beneath their perfume and aftershave they had a smell, alien and unnerving. We slunk home well after dark, our amulets lost along the way. One day, I wrote incantations on the sidewalk in chalk while my sister played games with her dolls on the lawn. The things I was bringing to life with my words were things I knew I couldn’t control, things I would one day have to bury. But I knew even then you can’t just dabble in magic. Somewhere behind us, the sound of voices, screen door slamming, TV. When I looked back, I saw my sister’s small hands, the doll’s long, bare legs parted, toes pointed up in the air. My sister was still so young, but she already knew things I would never know.