On this land with the birds
and the jagged rocks
that poke out like your shoulder blades
in the dress you are wearing
for that big, big party,
with colored liquid that you will keep
with you, in you, in your head
for days,

there is the beginning of a storm,
a collection in the air,
a stirring of the souls
that have smacked the rocks,
and climb in the current
            you think is frightening.

I met a girl one day who couldn’t
pump her gas in a station
two miles away;
the thought of being so far
made her skeleton shake,

and I think of myself
the scars as long as arms, legs,
in places where clothes cannot cover,

and I think of this place
where the bodies have piled over the years,
people diving from depression,
people falling too young,

and I think that in another lifetime
I would have joined their bones,
but then I think of you,
having seen nothing,

and I make up my mind:
a coat, a long walk,
near the edge
of this place.

Penney Knightly is a survivor of sexual abuse; themes about that are often found in her work. Her poetry has appeared in BROAD Magazine, Big River Poetry Review, Dead King Magazine, Ink In Thirds, and elsewhere. She lives with her family on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay, where she writes and makes art. She tweets @penneyknightly and shares on her blog:

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