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All Good Girls Deserve

My Dear Miss Z-

I know you, dear. Have seen you
             standing on your porch each evening,
backlit by starlight. I know the year

             you thinned to bone. The way all good girls do.
I know the blade, the rhythm as it strips
             and hones, how the body petals up

obedient beneath its weight.
             I would like to hold your wrist
to flame, to see the blue veins lit

             by the candle’s pulsing heart, the arterial thumping.
I would like to tell you
             how he held me down, hold I said only

deeper. His name a sore
             I can’t stop tonguing. You have said that I
should be ashamed, but I have words

             for you. I was not raised for this. To be
the other. My mother taught the salad fork,
             the polished silver, the body’s openings

named in a hush. That a good girl
              crosses at the ankles. That a lady shows herself
by the foot’s high arch. I was a girl once,

too. I wanted the wound.
Posted 07/10/14
previously published in The Journal, Summer 2012
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