Three Poems

Sarah Pape

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.


 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.

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.