About the Writer
Sarah Pape teaches English and works as the Managing Editor of Watershed Review at California State University, Chico. Her poetry and prose has recently been published in Mutha Magazine, The Rumpus, The Adirondack Review, The California Prose Directory, California Northern, The Superstition Review, The Southeast Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and others. She is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript and collection of personal essays.
What Girls Do
Crowded on a pull out bed, we
paired, hairbrushes and color palettes
in hand, going to work on the other,
pulled glossy rivulets from scalps,
stretched sunsets across eyelids,
fuchsia pucker, blush on blush.
Amie stands in the doorframe,
shaking her ass in blue panties
to Milli Vanilli, hysterical. Piss runs
quick down her spread legs, the Mom
calling through the accordion door,
What the fuck is going on? We crumble
into the blankets, stiff crochet against
our scented arms and smooth legs.
By the end of summer, Amie and I
have matching pink bikinis and tight
side ponytails. She disappears for long
sessions behind the couch, pillow
clasped between her legs, little coos
escaping over the radio static.
We ate cookies without asking,
piles of sugar in our open palms.
She asked me to bounce up and down
in the shallow end where she’d watch
with a scuba mask underwater.
By the first week of school, she was
matching with Melanie, cherry
dropping from the monkey bars
in unison. They said, Meet us behind
the ball shed, but no one was there.
In the Same Room
Your mother visited with heavy prayers,
and matching bosom; my mom got pregnant,
but didn't make me a sister. We hotboxed
this room, shredded the wallpaper with
fuck, fuck, fuck. There was a time bad
news came every day of the week, when
we didn't decide it was over. You blacked
out the windows and I changed the
locks. Back in the days we'd put six hits
of ecstasy on the credit card and wake
somewhere else with sore jaws. I begged you
to stop walking away. The gravel was up
to our necks in this room. You kept going.
This place where I could still hear the
music blaring. This room where the two
windows blazed light all over, an implication––
where I held the hardest part of you
like a kitten, a sing-song, "There you are."
No Place for Little Girls
I was born into the arms of men who scrape the streets
with their wallet chains, found my baby teeth in the coin
dish with fishing flies and a spark plug spacer, learned
the perimeter of harm through the slats in a three-walled
shed. There was never snow in my hometown, just the
florescent Coor’s Rockies hung between the dartboard
and a wedding license; most were married on a dare or
by a big brother’s fist. I heard the sudden boot clatter of men
when the wrong words were said. One night, they hit a deer
in the hills and butchered it in our garage. Hanging by its
hooves, blood pooled on a tarp, steaming in the night air.
I remember the way the deer’s skin was stripped down
like pantyhose. Like it was leaping into the concrete floor.
Dad sent me down to the market for a sixer and Reese’s Pieces.