Bees crazy off nectar, darkest plums were turning black,
old ladies sat in their cars with the air on.
The woman dropped you off at the bottom of your hill
and you were plumper. They must have fed you well
in the child protection service. We were 12, I guess.
Your mother had just been shipped off
to an institution again. We walked to your house
so you could pick up some clothes
and found a pile of The National Geographic
in the driveway. She had cut out pictures of women
and set the magazines on fire.
The women were in a pile, under a rock in the sun.
I think we laughed – but not at your dolls,
strewn across the house with their eyes cut out,
bleeding cotton up and down the hallway.
I watched your face as you looked around.
Too young to know any words to save anybody,
I wished it wasn’t your house.
Dolls who couldn’t see. Paper women under a rock.
Something about women – something about body –
what was she trying to silence?
We found a litter of puppies outside,
one of them was dead.
The others were healthy, so healthy.
How were they able to do it?
They survived somehow.
“Where should we take them?” you asked.
We understood we were on our own.
I buried the dead puppy with the paper women.
I don’t know why.
Something about women,
something about body,
trying to silence something
in the desert heat.
Rae Rose’s poetry and fiction have published in literary journals, including The Pedestal Magazine, Cicada, Earth’s Daughters, Today’s Alternative News, Contemporary World Literature: Journal for the Arts, The San Diego Poetry Annual and THEMA.