on a line by Peg Duthie
If I hadn’t made you bleed, would you still be telling me over? You can dye my hair, trim it, updo, ringlets, paint my toenails for a modern remake but the hard carbon core is still girl, boy with power, wanting what you can’t have meeting in the middle to break both dreams into pieces. Add mice if you must, but as dawn crept up and I picked up the sliver of shoe, I didn’t put the thin cut on my palm to my lips, didn’t drop the de facto knife while he kept chuckling, quietly, retying his trousers. He might go through with the marriage and I might get most of what I hoped for, stability, ready food, a son, but either way he’s unlikely to let any other lady coo over the jagged scar left once I slice through trousers to inner thigh, pale white and unblemished even on a boy. He can try to story me away, like you, but who knows what that will do?
Mary Alexandra Agner
Mary Alexandra Agner writes of dead women, telescopes, and secrets. Her poetry, stories, and nonfiction have appeared in The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Shenandoah, and Sky & Telescope, respectively. She can be found online at http://www.pantoum.org.
Artwork: William Ladd Taylor, Couple Embracing, 1904, Ladies Home Journal