Issue Four - June 2002

As If

By Brooks

in her sixth year
cabbage palms
and knife fights
long bike rides
and the neighbor's gift
of fresh baked cookies

this small foreigner
wanted only to go
where breathing never
had to be thought about
safety never discussed

in the night
two large men
with knife and fist
bound the pillow so
tight over her face
she was breathless
from terror
gasping and choking

like delicate parchment paper
ripped across rough boards
she worried
her shredded self
would be scattered
across her new summer sheets

her body
stayed together
only her
six year-old heart
was lost

hours later
she brushed her small teeth
already pretending
not even hinting
had bullied its way
into that sweet place
they killed
while she was breathless

©2002 Brooks