John Brighenti CC
In Broad Daylight
As a small town teenager,
we walked the sidewalks in packs,
huddled in front of the grocery store,
dangled from the school yard monkey bars,
or grouped in the corner of the local pizza shop.
We challenged authority
in our impatient tapping fingertips,
indestructible glaring over sunglasses,
and the sarcastic prose lingering on our lips.
At night, my friends and I snuck out
to roam the street edge
and slunk down to the school;
clustered together to plan
our exit in a trail of constellations.
My classmate, Angie, lived on the outskirts
with her freshly divorced mother
and punk rock sister.
As a little girl, she smiled every day
and mastered the monkey bars.
As a teenager, she knew the number of steps
from her front door to the school
while she sauntered along the road
and stared down headlights
for an escape route.
One day, someone did stop for Angie,
It was the middle in the afternoon,
when she walked home from school.
Grown men tried to pull her
into their van
and barrel down the freeway
in broad daylight.
In a battle of teeth and nails,
Angie got away
and found safety
in a farmhouse and police sirens,
but left her invincibility
like a loose jacket in their hands.
Her name was a trap
upon our mouths the next day,
and Angie became a lesson
for us teenage girls.
We sat in weeks of school assemblies
about strangers, safety and our frailty.
Angie never came back to school.
Once upon a summer,
ripe in strawberries
and deep blue ruffles
confined to her home
with the babysitter-
A girl in pigtails
and spaghetti straps
a high schooler
in thick framed eyeglasses.
He plucks her curiosity
about closed bathroom doors,
best friends on front porch waiting,
and the feeling of calluses
biting skin under
from six or seven years old
and the dress
remains wadded in her closet
with faded strawberries,
the metallic smell
of his breath,
and his name
crumpled in the front pocket.
into a woman
that will not know
the rasp of a half-starved tongue
and its slow motion
along her thighs.
that will not see
snap jaw muzzle fingers
in the hands of all her lovers
pull her apart
one button at a time.
She fragments that summer
from her memory-
deletes the thick rimmed glasses,
withdraws the wolf hands,
erases the deep blue ruffled dress,
and with a survival needle
and silent thread,
sews herself back together.
She pulls out the letters of his name
like jagged teeth
and stitches him up in the word
Amanda Hawk lives in Seattle, Washington between the roaring planes and concrete jungle. Her poetry has been featured on Rain City Poetry Slam's Instagram and an honorable mention on marylambertsings.com. Recently, she has had poems accepted at borrowed solace, The Raven Review and Drunk Monkeys.
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