The Girls by Julie Eliopoulos
They hid heroin needles inside flimsy bras and tucked in
black garter belts that left tar rings around their legs;
their skirts as short as their lives, drew up in breezes.
We couldn’t find their father, whose face was a blank;
he got lost in the unreadable streets, doused with foul
rain water; their author simply vanished, fumbling on a subway,
his eyes were two sewer drains filled with autumn’s slimy
and cold October leaves, his pockets were crammed with bills
green as springtime, lush, dewy, sappy, moist April.
Their mother almost died delivering them, under the guise of a saint,
giving her triplets to the earth upon leaving the unsanctified hospital
and turning to the dimpling west like a cowgirl, tossing her dog-end.
They stepped on to the streets with footsteps no one cared for,
colliding violently with the pavement, their heels battering rams
doing damage, and they tried to trace their parents, to know them.
Like soldiers they moved, holding camouflage jackets against
thin limbs, huddling together as birds in a coarse nest, always
shivering as they peeked into cars, at a quarter to midnight.
If they stepped on you and stole your wallet, and bruised your
face with a firm slap, it served you right. When you were forced
to assume another identity, because they blackmailed you, well,
there was no other way. They did not ask to be born, with their
six arms, insects emerging as a result of irresponsible friction
into the molesting world, propelled away from the source of
their origin. They did not ask to die, corroded by drugs, burned
away by the cremation of summer, or frozen in the extremes of
winter, sitting on hostile curbs, looking neurotic, frenetic—artistic.
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© Julie Eliopoulos 2012
Photo credit: Mark J Sebastian