An American Lyric

quick-like the girl pedals her yellow bike in the road
wants so much to go so far
the weasels undo the mouse nest under
the porch and the mother slides her fingers
between hinge and doorjamb open shut open shut
what a lot of loneliness to make up for in a half-swing
mothers know some things best so the girl
pedals back home her knees bloody
even though she hasn’t fallen neveronce
she’s got a lot of riding to do yet the boys
in the street call her a name or something more
guttural they find a skinny dog behind
the houses the alley does a no-good job of hiding
they pull on its tail and the howl makes the weasels
run out mother loosens her blouse her fingers
are a lovely shade of her favorite color
this time the girl leaves her bike against
the side of the house and the boys are
mean but pretend to be nice the dog howls
yanked like the cord on a basement light bulb
oh what the girl wouldn’t give to crawl into
her mother’s bed she finds a penny in the street slicked
with piss places her hand over her heart
in god we trust in god we trust

Margaret Cipriano is from Chicago, IL and currently lives in Columbus, OH where she is an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University. Her visual and written work has appeared or is forthcoming in Quarterly West, The Adroit Journal, DIAGRAM, West Branch, Ninth Letter, Mid-American, Copper Nickel and others. She was recently a finalist for Greg Grummer Poetry Award and serves as the Managing Editor of The Journal