small house with well treed backyard
Dead Set On

scabby kneed
legs pumping—

ratty band aid hanging
on her index finger
road rash
on her elbow
yellow jacket sting
on her shoulder and hands
dirty little fingernails
dirty bare feet
hot black
heated by the relentless
summer sun
up one street
through a backyard,
up a tree,
down a hill,
careening through a culvert,
never still until
the flowers:
indian paintbrush
bees and
she bats away
as she picks
wet stems
and squishes
them into bunches
in her hands so that
she could run back
to mother
an offering
an apology for her presence
the fact that she exists
she doesn’t know
she takes off running
for that something,
for that everything,
that nothing
she must have missed.

First Impressions Are Everything

Hemmed in, laced up,
clothes layered from
bottom up, panties,
then tights, then slip
then skirt, finished off

by shiny shoes – black
patent Mary Janes
not meant for running,
climbing, hiking,
playing with boys.

Wearing what Mother
wanted, always crafting
a look to her designs,
silences, her rolling eyes.
For a moment, producing

a quick nod, granting leave
to represent her out in the
world, graded, judged
leaving the girl behind:
her room, her truth

hidden in a pile
of dirty clothes
covered in mud.

Double Dating

Her father calls our evening dresses “lovely costumes.” He speaks my truth and doesn’t know it. Hiding in plain sight. Double dating. A means to my end. The boy is part of my pretense. Liquor loosens ties, heels discarded, Bruce urging Rosalita “to jump a little higher, Senorita come sit by my fire.” The cover of the party. The couples – all the men. No one knows my motives. The ruse pays off – the moment I lean in, wisps of her hair brushing my face, inhaling her perfume – her scent – to whisper – to be near – my lips almost touching her skin – some silly joke about that girl over there. She laughs, turns to me, smiles, asks me to light her cigarette.