a girl child

two decades ago i took

an overdue trip to Central Ohio

introducing my former mother-in-law to her six month old twin grandsons

we got to talking about Kentucky

as all transplanted Kentuckians do

we bounced gurgling baby innocence on our respective maternal knees having our own little gossip social

curling wispy baby hairs in her worn fingers

her laughter turned to pained breaths

as she shuttered out

a mortifying truth

about a bluegrass upbringing

she was discussing how she had been repeatedly raped as a girl by her father in Hyden, Kentucky

ran away to something worse at 14

how her first marriage ended when she found her alcoholic unemploymed coal miner husband was molesting her two little girls while she was waitressing to support the jerk

fleeing north to Ohio with them

to single motherdom with three kids in the 1960s living in a car until she could afford a place to rent

tears streamed down

her withered cheeks

as she said

“A girl child isn’t safe growing up around a family of men in the South.”

20 years later i think of her words and the women in my biological family

four generations of women who tried to protect their genitalia from one family member

the irony of being expected to smile and pretend

give forgiving hugs

that i’m the one who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the Thanksgiving table

not the man who couldn’t keep his hands to himself

tough eggs

it’s frustrating

when you’re trying

to teach your offspring

to fly off

from the nest

when

they are pigeons

the size of bowling balls

with no desire

to put aerodynamics

to the test

high school interrupted

in the 1990’s

your flannel shirt

was a cultural ticket

that took you

greasy haired

through a graffiti pocked

bathroom stall door

to a grunge w├╝nderland

where herpes came standard

with every tribal tattoo

nirvana whining

about your libido

a mosquito

&

girlfriends untrue

your dreams will be

dry humped

in a Geo Metro,

Generation X,

your so-called life…

high school interrupted

…eating Pearl Jam until

Zima vomit came to the house party too

with green apple jollyranchers

attended by

your skankiest girlfriend

who smoked Marlboro Reds

with the acumen

of a triple divorcee

her eyelids

the trashiest

ice blue

master class

i suppose you could say

i’m one of those people

who has seen more than their

fair share of things

you will certainly find

me adept

in a broad range of topics

from culinary techniques

to obscure music

embalming

comic books

addictive substances

and

lesser know shitty diners

of the northeast

some of it owed to college

and my need

to join the rat race too soon

mostly it was my proclivities

my insistence on taking

a master class

in dating old fucks

what an education

Paris in the rain

a woman’s life

is too tenuous

delicate

billowy

spider web

close call on I-75

in preterm labor

on the way to the

Paris airport

in the rain

fragile

beautiful

precious

sacrosanct

finite

for bad friends

bad family

bad coffee

bad shoes

bad mattresses

bad jobs

bad husbands

bad debt

and bad dick

learn this by 30 for maximum

enjoyment

future

female

conquerors

of a dying planet

Dinner at the Sizzler

if purgatory

is a soup kitchen line

in a catholic church

hell

is serving up grub

on the corner of 8th & vine

southern baptists

pulling up

in their tax exempt jesus wagon

to serve homeless people

hot chili in july

heaven, happens

in Cincinnati

when pigs fly

Up ↑