The Girl (Whose Mother Filled Her Belly With Meth & Let Terrible People Mutilate Her Body Before Killing Her) Runs Away
— Jennifer Givhan
She does not immediately want you to read her story on the front page of the newspaper at the Walgreens on Universe & Paradise where you’re refilling your living girl’s prescription & buying your girl safe a bottle of crystal blue Gatorade She wants you to keep your eyes on your girl playing hopscotch across the automatic doors opening & closing & opening She wants you to pick up a yellow umbrella to notice the inky splotches of sky forming behind the hills in the distance She wants you to remember those hills are volcanoes that they are sleeping & sleeping things wake up2.
When you step into the shower that night you admit you did look down at the counter & saw two women with their arms upraised You thought it harmless to keep reading You’ll never know who those women are who needed comforting Because the caption said what it said about the mother & what she let her boyfriend do because you’re hyperventilating against the tile the girl shampoos your hair & sings Her song sounds like the one you taught her for gathering yourself from the drain like hairs like colorful strips of paper for the collage you’ve never stopped working on She tells you her plan It is so smart she is so smart You smile as she dips your head back into the warm water and rinses the soap from your eyes It doesn’t even sting the way she does it She promises she will check on you while you sleep & shows you the light She promises she will run toward it past the ditches rusting in the empty desert stretch behind your house & because you didn’t write the story & because she didn’t want you to—3.
you believe her
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