for a girl in trouble, 1951

           Use this word when you speak of love.

A man of cloth will come.
Your new home is among brides.

the child inside you is the child you dream at night

and when they cut short your hair,
watch the cuts fall

like the soft fur of an animal
held still by threat.

Find a pale rose climbing a wall
and consider yourself

smaller now
than even a thorn.

In your starched uniform, step into a nameless stream.
Feel the coldness between your thighs.

Say aloud:
‘In this life I am drowning.’