On a bright morning, without signal, she arrived
and was swallowed into the thick dusty woodland of the Pine Barrens.
Lost in plain view,
she hovered inside this portal.
Not the past or future, but the present,
holding her still
so that she could feel the sandy ground,
inhale the mild salt air.
She waited and through squinted glances observed the sharp green pine needles
surrounding the cranberry bogs which glowed a disarming red
warning in the landscape.
She was a misplaced possession,
a mounting crisis,
just slightly out of reach.
pressure is too pronounced.
Words said (to herself) remain inside.
But these phrases unfurl, stick to the edges.
Lines transform into bleak thoughts that gush,
bump around, become amplified.
What ifs, comparisons and should haves
There is a devilish little pit that
renders this impossible,
at least for the moment.
She dances beside her own dotted lines.
Her arm weaves through the white light and
she’s careful to step in between the cobalt shadows.
marking and erasing.
overlapping and disappearing.
measured and undone.
soft silver melts into lavender.
A transfer perceptible for as long as she says so,
then fades to dim purple silence.
“her eyes are animals”
bloodshot with fury.
they hiss, growl
and foam at the mouth.
she sees revenge.
a story that exacts
the same violence
women by men.
she closes her red eyes.
is this the beginning or is this the end?
Her testimony was real because it was the truth.
Her confrontation was powerful because it was honest.
Believe the women.
Charge the liars.
She accepted his invitation into the room,
hidden away from the party,
because she liked him.
He closed the door,
threw her on the bed with such
force, her body bounced into the air.
In an instant his heavy body had pinned her down,
his hands groping, pulling, pushing.
She fought back punching, kicking, scratching.
No, this is a silent memory.
She found the door, but his
ugly hands seized her again,
slammed her against the wall.
The battle continued until her small
body escaped his release, fled down the steps
and out the front door.
Through tears, she watched the green beads from
her grandmother’s necklace shatter across
She clutched her throat, her chest, her belly
– held her body tight to prevent
her insides from breaking across
the hard concrete.
At school on Monday morning,
the popular girls whispered that
she had made it all up.
She stopped telling her story.
There is sadness in her eyes that she attempts
to hide, but we can see it through her long stares.
There is anger in her throat that she tries to silence,
although we can hear it snarled in her words.
There is exhaustion at the end of
each breath. She tries to exhale it away,
except we feel it in her sigh.
There is history, strength and beauty in her
skin, impossible to conceal.
Pale blue lines map stories up and down her forearms,
traverse her thighs.
She is gently take care of what’s left,
assembling a justification,
while recalling warm breezes blowing
through the long hairs across her shins and calves.
Like the dark tangles under her arms,
these shadows were not suitable to be seen.
Thick grey veins drawn under thin skin bulge from her hands
like old explanations.
They’ve always been evident but were never part of the plan.
These are not such delicate tales.
She is in process.
Her straight, thin, orange hair has grown past her waist.
Her long dark curly hair frames her round face.
Her pale freckled skin and small dark eyes have transformed.
Her large hands sparkle with pink nails speckled with silver glitter.
In a short black dress and high heels, her voice betrays her,
Bearing witness to modifications that unite an exterior image with
a genuine interior self. She is all courage.
A true being, being true.