A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Olivia Gatwood

"The Summer of 2008 Ending in Altura Park"

The boys took me to the corner of the park
that was most hidden by trees to tell me the news.
Are you going to kill me, I joked and they
each pulled a handful of grass from the ground
and shoved it into their mouths.

I waited in silence while they looked at me
the same way my father did
when I choked on a piece of bread at dinner,

What happened was, Jordan said
While you were away, Eric continued
It wasn't that big of a deal, JoJo choked out
like a skipped rock across the river of his throat

and there they sang like a choir of boys
whose voices have not yet plummeted
to the bottom of a well

Your boyfriend left the party with a girl
this time, this time he came back
covered in blood, his shirt was soaked,
he threw it away, drank whiskey for the rest of the night
half-naked, when we asked what happened
he said she got a bloody nose
said she got her period, said she was a virgin,
said she liked the pain, said sometimes you can f*ck
a girl so hard you break something
no other man could reach.

I waited for them to finish 
I often did then with men,
to stop speaking
of this girl who I imagined
must have been blonde.

And when they sealed the confession,
I wove my fingers together in my lap
like a patient wife, knitting her own body,
pushed the girl back down to the bottom of the river
said, What do you mean, “This time.”

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

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