Jared Harél

Spring Crush

It’s early spring on our walk home from school
          when my daughter tells me she’s in love

with the world. Last week it was a boy
          with small, serious eyes and a glorious bowl cut,

but it seems she’s moved on, falling
          for the world as she twirls in its sunlight

and our shadows douse the concrete below.
          Should I aim to dissuade her? Must I explain

this world will leave her for dust, leave her
          with the taste of rust on her tongue? But she smiles

and slips fingers through mine—a sweetness
          not yet teased from her grip. Even those teens

who pack the sidewalk with trendy sneakers
          and covert insecurities stop slap-boxing, pause

to let us pass. Nearly home, we spot blossoms
          burning indigo and pink. A whirl of two squirrels

scrape up a tree. Better to take things slowly, I’d say,
          but the girl splits off and sprints

the final block: sun-struck, smitten, a whip of
          perfect limbs stretched to broken sky.



Jared Harél is the author of Let Our Bodies Change the Subject, Winner of the 2022 Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry (forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press, Sept. 2023) and Go Because I Love You (Diode Editions, 2018.) He’s been awarded the ‘Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize’ from American Poetry Review, the ‘William Matthews Poetry Prize’ from Asheville Poetry Review, and has new poems in such journals as 32 Poems, Beloit Poetry Journal, Electric Literature, Smartish Pace, The Southern Review and The SUN. Jared lives with his family in Westchester, NY. He’s on Instagram @jaredharel