Sid Miller

Elizabeth Rockney

In the third grade,
when my arms

were like branches on a sapling,
she’d beat the crap out of me;

fists to my chest,
knees to my nards,

bite marks
on the back of my calves.

To lose in a fight
shows courage,

but to be ravaged
by a fifty-two pound girl

left me to question my parents
to run after every bell—

recess, lunch, end of the day—
to far corners of the soccer field

and to my mother in row
in the carpool line.

She had freckles and pigtails,
soft blonde hair on her legs,

an anger toward me
more powerful

than any love I’d known
or hate I’d harbored.

It is too long ago now
for me to remember

what I did to deserve it,
because I’m sure I did,

but I always will remember
how it feels to lie face down

in a playground—
a mouth full of sand

with an angry girl wailing away—
and wonder how one could ever

move past a moment
such as this.


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