Suzannah Russ Spaar
I played football with the boys
but only with a flick of finger
on the diner’s gluey table. Elbows
peeled away with ketchup
patches. I patched up my jeans,
cut off the frays, turned them
from shorts to skirt to a scrap
on the bag in the attic, full
and brushed with dust.
The diner is gone now
though I still wear its shirt
—a large slice of moon.
I do not recognize the home
when I go there. I do not
remember the litanies
I repeated. Did I expect
to be a Litany, folded over
into the tightest square?
There are many songs
I only sing
with the volume way up.
I can say anything, never heard
a friend scream until
on a roller coaster and loved
that collection of bodies,
unconstrained and strapped
to the tracks. I gasped
when I first kissed the boy
on fourth street, wrestled grease
from my chin. I went to a protest
there; the bodies
screamed out. I wore a blue dress
when a man held a gun to my middle.
It was bright blue, toxic, stained
with ketchup and I left it far away.
There will be a prayer without a blue dress.
There will be no more scraps for me
to cut into napkins. I have washed my face
every day since the boy in first grade
called it dirty. Rot repeated, then away.
Suzannah Russ Spaar is a poet from Charlottesville, Virginia. She received her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh where she served as a contributing editor for Aster(ix) and poetry editor of Hot Metal Bridge. She is the co-author with Lucia LoTempio of the chapbook, Undone in Scarlet (Tammy, 2018). You can find her poems in or forthcoming from Luna Luna, The Boiler, and elsewhere.