She was the one first to pay, blonde
head sloped downward. I got so used
to looking at her part, down the center,
too pink in summer. Her life was
chaos, the stamps of poverty and abuse
well hidden under hand-me-down cardigans.
Until, when she began to break,
it happened almost all at once:
a broken wrist one week, blackened eye
the next. Then the stomach swelling so
obvious – she swore she didn’t know the father.
Her parents kicked her out, she slept
rough one night under the old train bridge,
then disappeared, her prayers answered.
Andrea Janelle Dickens lives the Sonoran Desert, where she resides among the sunshine and saguaro cacti. Her work has appeared in Star 82, cakestreet, Ruminate, Caesura and The Wayfarer, among others. When not writing poems, she's making pottery in her ceramics studio or tending hives of bees.