He Takes Her

The story is an old one—
                                          a man wants a girl and so
he takes her. Girls are locked inside houses. Girls crawl
naked from dog leashes,
                                          Duct tape slapped across wet
mouths. I hacked my hair with garden shears, the limp
pigtails bright as snakes in the grass.
                                          A man sits in the jellied luxury
of watching, his shoulders rounded as beef rump.
There’s only so much shame
                                          a body can bleed
out in the yard where even cheap lights can’t shine.
                                          Girls do not speak.

Anne Barngrover’s first book, Yell Hound Blues, was recently published with Shipwreckt Books, and her chapbook, Candy in Our Brains, co-written with Avni Vyas, came out with CutBank this spring. She is currently a PhD student in Poetry at University of Missouri.