We were damaged. We hurt people. We were called selfish so many times we figured what the fuck, and slid the last piece of steak from our grandmother’s plate. We stole pints of rum raisin even though the raisins thawed and spread like sticky insects on our tongues. We took it out on each other, oldest to youngest, until the dog got a bonnet tied so tight his eyes bugged out. We grew up and left that place, refugees—
We acquired husbands, student loans, a penchant for carving letters lightly into our forearms, kittens that kept coming. We left lovers in pick-up trucks to race home and open cans, scratch under wishbone chins. We got therapy. We went for walk after walk after walk in the woods. We filled the sink with hot water and washed dishes every day.
We stacked folding chairs, jiggled our knees when we sat, got sober standing before a chain link fence, pressing our foreheads to the grid. We inked stick figures on our forearms, mouths open, meowing. We were sorry and said so, and after a while our wheels ground to a gravelly stop. We didn’t know any better. And then we did, and bowed our heads.
Erica Sofer Bodwell is a poet who lives in Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Fat, Minerva Rising, White Stag, APIARY, The Fem, Coal Hill Review, PANK, HeART and other fine journals. Her chapbook, Up Liberty Street, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in February 2017.