Martha Meets John

I know she wore a sun dress:
the hem hovering over the tops
of her long plump thighs, the white
skirt stark against her golden.
She was sixteen.

I know he wore only jeans: wild-eyed,
ready for everything, every bit
of it. He was twice her age.

She was already looking to drown
herself in the sweep of someone—
the humidity collecting in pools
behind the back of his neck
behind the soft backs of her knees.

She does not yet know how violence
can be served at room temperature
like a late supper.

He does not know how to stop;
only how to take what she has to give
and she wants to give and give until
everything is filled with the anesthetic
light of winter morning; quiet and empty.

If I could’ve taken my mother’s child
hand in my child hand then led her away.

Blanche Brown

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