February 28, 1996
I just want a new pair of boots,
you know, the pink kind, leather, tight
against my calf muscles, so when I run,
I can feel newness cut into me, but Daddy
didn’t want to buy me boots; just stared out
the truck, said shut up. His tobacco
pooled in a 7-11 cup, stunk in the heat.
March 1, 1996
He can hear my thoughts. I rocked, bawled
up to my knees in the back of the truck,
as weeds pushed through the muck. We drove
to the house alone. He can hear my thoughts.
I pushed my bangs back, bit my lip.
March 7, 1996
I know not to tell, wrapped in smoke
his friends dance around when we get home,
laughing like coyotes. If I had pink leather boots
I’d be able to run faster, down to the neighbor’s
with the chickens and the girl, with her secret
wishes and holes in the ground. We hide
things, notes, stones, and pictures, crumbled:
like her Barbies’ eyes scratched by her brothers.
March 10, 1996
A patch of devil’s claws from the mesquite
dug into my calves and I laughed, bleeding
down the alley back to Daddy, his friends,
the men, stood by the cooker, telling jokes
until they weren’t funny. They can hear
my thoughts. I ran for the screen door—
March 13, 1996
The neighbor girl’s chickens, some of them
got caught in the wire, flapped, hung there,
silent, still until her daddy pulled them out,
one by one. You could hear the bones
go wild for second; his hands swept back,
then let out a laugh, catching our eyes, marble-
wide. The neighbor girl cried at the blood–
I just bit my lip harder, light-headed,
dizzy, till I bled, too.