Edge of Seventeen


             Let’s hope this is the good version, idiot girl. Stop your wandering
eye, or it’ll be replaced with glass. The dead are always washing in. Consider
             who’ll bury you. Throw bathwater West. Ignore the ghosts
unless it’s Tuesday or the well is dry. Don’t ask men whose footprints
 
             run in their cement. They remember nothing that didn’t end in conquest. Avoid
asking the rich for help. They’re useless. In the parlor, a man’s polishing his boots,
             then his rifle. He’s has started to suspect something is afoot. Your dullness
has value. It’ll keep them from looking too hard. Admit it: the most girl part of you
 
             isn’t sure she’s a girl. If you go to see the hermit in the thicket,
walk away from her hovel in the direction the pine needles point. Remember
             her birds aren’t for you. They’re to warn the foxes about us: arrows clawing to where
the chickens & guns sleep needle-dark. If you’re bleeding, it’s a good time
 
             for a new plague bag. This time, stitch a razor in the lining. Practice holding
it under your tongue, the way your poor mother taught, for the auction.