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The Score

by Susan Simonds

The Score

My body knows the sum

total of quick-quick heartbeats

adrenaline too sick to fight

too heavy for flight

So long I lived in a house powered

by anxiety, my fears woke me

from dreams sweating

worried the wrong one

was sleeping next to me

Years later I still feel ample

hands pushing me down, enormous

feet punting my stomach

I still see the miniscule shadows of small rocks and

twigs on the pavement, eye level with me

I still hear the car approach, the woman screaming

Stop! You don’t do that to a woman!

and you don’t do that to a man, either

I remember thinking

as I opened my eyes to watch him run

she opened her passenger door to let me in

I decided against involving authorities

[I believed I should carry your reaction

on my back alone]

as I sat in the woman’s backseat

staring at her Victoria’s Secret bag

how I hated its Pepto pink

inviting me to vomit, empty

my stomach of this incident, but I didn’t

I let her take me in

and back to the party

And you went free to tell lies

and I went free to therapize

and even now a part of me dies when I think I’ve spotted you in the wild

Q Train

Every day I do not witness

outlines of your eyes engraved in the left side of my brain

I will present to myself

a silver medal on a silver string

When I gather enough

I’ll stack them in a box

walk to your door

dump them on your hardwood floor let them bury you

so I never have to picture you


Soft Cell

your favorite song was tainted

love, and wasn't it just?

once you ran to me

[once you accidentally kicked me

once you kicked me on purpose]

then I ran from you

and it wouldn’t be tears

would it

that I would take from you

[mine would flood the riverbanks

of my brain, feeding weeds of disesteem]

but vitriolic words spat like venom

at any mention of how I felt

when you took me time and again

[for a ride, for a fight]

without my consent



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