There were words spoken
out of turn
and a sharp twist of truth sprang out
ugly, unwanted, embarrassing- the very thing
that was supposed to be disguised
appeared boldly and she-
left voiceless and without
the opportunity to shift
her weight in preparation
for attack- tripped backwards, slipped
behind her words and left
without us noticing, while her body remained
at the table, quietly listening
to nothing at all, her eyes
carving alibis
into each breath



(trigger warning for sexual assault content)

She refuses
to remember
the way the two of them made her
her legs-
the living room floor-
to teach me
how to remove
a still-forming fetus,
the proof
of one man’s

“This will help,”
one said, “you not
have children
out of wedlock.”

will help.
This is help.
This is what help looks like
to her.

She said,

“We ran
away as kids, but now
she leaves
me alone with
the horrors
of a shared childhood
and how can I
blame her, really, except for
when the nightmares come,
tearing a scream
from the fist-like place
inside me
where even I don’t dare

(For the record, this is not an actual quote.)


Her laugh
was what she left me when
she died. That night, windshields shone
like widened eyes. Lights flicked
on and doors opened all
down the street. A half moon paused 
in a sky of aquamarine. 

When a spider crawls across
My ceiling, I scream. But when I saw
her cheeks, 
rubber under rouge, made up like
a baby doll, I only 
stared. These were not the cheeks
I had brushed my lips against
at night before I climbed the
14 steps to my silent bed and she went back
to cigarette smoke and Wheel of Fortune
on the TV.
She also left a note. Withdrawal
written carefully- an apology
in blue ink, but I know my father
killed her long
before her car
collided with that tree.